Times West Virginian
Curtis Jones Jr., who was beginning his second year as associate athletic director for academic support at West Virginia University, died suddenly Wednesday morning.
Jones was 40. No cause was given for his death.
Jones administered the the student services division for the athletic department while directly overseeing academic support for Mountaineer football.
“The Mountaineer athletic family is overwhelmed with sorrow at the sudden passing of Curtis Jones. In his brief time with West Virginia University, he brought passion and professionalism to his position as the head of academic support for all of our WVU student-athletes,” said director of athletics Oliver Luck.
“He was a beloved figure among the coaches, fellow administrators and student-athletes. He will be greatly missed. Our prayers and condolences are with his family, particularly with his wife, Mary Ellen Jones, a valued member of our Mountaineer family.”
“Curtis Jones was a close friend, a role model to our players and a true professional,” added WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen. “His loss will be felt by all of us in many ways. On behalf of WVU football, I offer my deepest sympathies to Mary Ellen and all of Curtis’ family.”
Jones came to WVU from Texas, where he spent three years coordinating the Longhorns’ football academic support services program as the school’s assistant athletic director.
Prior to that, he was the assistant athletic director for student development at USF for two years (2008-09), assistant director of athletic academic affairs at Oklahoma (2005-08), assistant athletic director for the Sooners’ compliance program (2003-05), and he also served as director of football operations for the University of Missouri for two years (1999-2000).
Jones worked for two years at Nike as the product line manager for baseball and football footwear at its headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. He also worked as an account manager for the Zipatoni Co. and Wieden & Kennedy, marketing and advertising agencies, servicing industry-leading national corporate accounts.
He was a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics and the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics APR Consultants.
“Curtis was an incredible person both professionally and personally,” said associate athletic director for governance and compliance Keli Cunningham. “The positive impact he made on our program would be completely underestimated if I tried to explain it in words. He will be deeply missed, and I am so grateful for the time we shared with him.”
Curtis earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1995 from Dartmouth and received a master’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising from Missouri in 1998. He was a four-year letter winner on the Dartmouth baseball team.
Jones is survived by his wife Mary Ellen, who serves as the director of sports administration at WVU. He also leaves behind his mother, Gwen, who calls Columbia, Mo., home, and brother Corby and sister Kirra.
Brother Corby was a star quarterback at the University of Missouri.