Cyrus Jones, the head coach at Lincoln from 1974 to 2010, led Lincoln to 15 NCAA Division III track & field championships. Lincoln’s men won 11 national titles (six outdoor, five indoor), and Lincoln’s women won four NCAA championships (three outdoor, one indoor) under his guidance.
Jones played baseball at Florida A&M, graduating in 1968, and hoped to coach that sport when he applied for a job at Lincoln, a historically black institution located 50 miles outside Philadelphia near Oxford, Pa. The baseball position was filled, so the athletic director asked Jones if he’d be willing to coach track.
“I couldn’t say no. I told him yes,” Jones said in a 2007 ESPN.com story. “That’s where it all started.”
It took time to build the program and develop his knowledge of the sport, but the Lions reached the top in 1985, winning their NCAA Division III outdoor track title.
Jones coached more than 300 All Americans at Lincoln, including Rhondale Jones (no relation). Rhondale Jones won 14 NCAA individual titles in 1999, 2000 and 2001, the most by an NCAA track athlete at any level. Rhondale Jones was named the outstanding Division III female track athlete of the first 25 years of NCAA women’s competition. Jones also coached 800-meter runner Clive Terrelonge, who holds the Division III record in the 800-meter run (1:47.56), set at the 1991 outdoor championships.
In recognition of Jones’ accomplishments, he was a six-time recipient of the Division III National Coach of the Year award, as well as a recipient of the Mid East Region Track Coach of the Year. He also served as honorary official during the 2002 Penn Relays and was selected as one of the top 100 sports figures in the Philadelphia region of the past 100 years by the Philadelphia Tribune. Jones won the Linback Teaching Award (1982) and the Outstanding Men of America Award (1984). Jones received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
In addition to coaching track & field and cross country, Jones previously served as Lincoln’s athletic director, and he is a tenured professor of Health and Physical Education at Lincoln. Jones also served as the president of Division III Track & Field Coaches Association (1991-94).