Track and Field Assistant Coach - Sprints, Hurdles and Jumps
Pristina Jones joined the Notre Dame coaching staff in November of 2014 after serving as head women’s cross country and track and field coach at Jackson State University since 2011. Jones focuses on sprints and jumps for the Irish.
In 2017, Jones helped to coach a youthful Irish squad that consisted of five freshmen women’s sprinters, one freshman men’s sprinter and a graduate student transfer.
During the 2016 track season, Jones received a couple of All-American performances from the sprints and hurdles. Senior Margaret Bamgbose was All-ACC and All-American in the indoor 400m and she was All-ACC in the outdoor 400m and 200m. Bamgbose recorded PRs of 23.34 in the 200m and 51.11 in the 400m. In the hurdles, senior Kaila Barber broke the school record in the 60m hurdles (8.05), All-ACC (60m Hurdles, 100m Hurdles, 400m Hurdles) and All-American (60m Hurdles). She was the ACC Outdoor Champion in the 100m hurdles (12.92) and 400m hurdles (56.81). Barber’s PRs included 12.91 in the 100H and 55.53 in the 400H.
Jones made an immediate impact in her first season in 2015. Irish senior Jade Barber finished fourth in the 100H at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (12.85), tallying her ninth All-America honor. Junior Margaret Bamgbose placed sixth in the 400H (52.13) and earned her eighth career All-America honor. Barber won her second ACC Championship with a time of 13.13 in the 100H and was named Second Team All-ACC.
Jones left a Jackson State program (cross country, indoor track and outdoor track) that achieved a perfect score of 1000 in the Academic Performance Rate for three straight seasons (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14), while the cross country squad earned the honor for the fourth straight year in 2014. The Tigers saw their cumulative GPA climb each year under Jones, rising from 2.778 in 2011 to 3.25 after the fall 2013 semester.
She oversaw a third-place finish in the Southwestern Athletic Conference for the cross country team in 2013, while coaching two-time SWAC outdoor discus champion Sharonda Bryant and sprinter Raina Sanders, who claimed SWAC outdoor titles in the 200 and 400 meters.
Prior to working at Jackson State, Jones spent nearly two years as an assistant coach with the girls’ track and field team at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis while working toward her master’s degree in Applied Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. At Warren Central, Jones coached the 100 and 200 meter sprint groups, as well as the 4×100 meter relay. She is currently working toward a second master’s in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan.
During the 2010-11 season, Jones directly coached five state championship qualifiers, including Shannon Parker, who placed fifth in the state in the 100 meters, and Brionna Harrison, who placed ninth in the same event. The previous year, five of Jones’ charges made the state meet, with the 4×100 relay team of Harrison, Parker, Latisha Martin and Alex Rowe claiming second in the state. Parker placed fifth in the 200 meter dash and sixth in the 100 meter dash.
Jones guided the women’s program at Chicago State between 2006 and 2009, where she helped the Cougars reestablish the program. She worked to help her student-athletes improve their personal best times and jumps, and also coached the men jumpers between 2006 and 2008. During the 2007 and 2008 cross country seasons, Jones helped her athletes shave five to nine minutes off their personal bests. The Cougars also saw Stephon Harden qualify for the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional Outdoor Championships in the long jump under the guidance of Jones.
She also spent one year as an assistant on the staff at Jacksonville State, where veteran head coach Steve Ray tutored her. While Jones was with the Gamecocks, the team won its first indoor meet in school history; hosted its first two outdoor home meets, winning both; and placed second at the 2006 Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships, an improvement from 2005’s sixth-place finish. The Gamecocks boasted the 2006 OVC Female Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, Eboni Matthews, and Jones was directly responsible for recruiting 10 of 12 signees for the 2006-07 year.
A standout athlete in her own right, Jones was an 11-time All American at North Central College (Naperville, Illinois) and a three-time NCAA Division-III National Champion. As a senior in 1999, she claimed the indoor and outdoor long jump titles, as well as a title in the 4×400 meter indoor relay. Jones holds school records in outdoor long jump, the outdoor 4×100 meter relay and the 4×400 meter indoor relay. Jones earned seven College Conferences of Illinois & Wisconsin championships, including three straight CCIW long jump titles from 1997-99. She graduated in 1999 with a BA in Marketing and minors in computer science and communication. In 2000, she joined the Indiana Invaders, an Amateur Elite Track & Field Club, where she spent five years competing, as well as mentoring and coaching high school and college-aged student-athletes.