Matt Jones has worked as an assistant coach the past four seasons, joining the UCLA baseball program in August 2004. An integral part of UCLA's recent success, Jones has served as the Bruins' catching instructor and first base coach in addition to working with the hitters.
Jones arrived at UCLA after having spent the 2004 season working with head coach John Savage at UC Irvine. In his last six seasons as a collegiate assistant coach, Jones' has seen six catchers under his tutelage sign professional contacts (two at UC Irvine, four at UCLA).
Jones' work with UCLA has been instrumental in guiding the program to three consecutive NCAA postseason appearances for the first time in school history. Jones made his fourth appearance as an assistant coach in the NCAA Division I Tournament last spring when the Bruins advanced to the Fullerton Regional. UCLA's berth in the Fullerton Super Regional in 2007 marked his first NCAA Super Regional appearance as a coach.
The past three seasons, Jones' instruction proved instrumental in the development of catchers Ryan Babineau and Brent Dean. Babineau played in 161 games in three seasons, throwing out 39 percent of attempted base stealers. Dean made 26 starts behind the plate in 2008 and nailed 33 percent of stolen base attempts. Babineau, a freshman All-America selection by Collegiate Baseball in 2006, earned All-Pac-10 Team honors in 2006 and was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 2007.
In 2008, UCLA's catching corps led the Pac-10 Conference with the highest percentage of runners caught stealing (45 percent, 31-of-69). The Bruins' pitchers and catchers tied for the second-most runners caught stealing, throwing out 31 attempted base stealers (tied with Washington State). Likewise, the Bruins' catchers helped the pitching staff record a 4.45 ERA, the second-lowest mark at UCLA in 16 seasons.
Jones' work with UCLA's backstops in 2007 was vital to the success of All-Pac-10 right hander Tyson Brummett and the emergence of left-handers Gavin Brooks and Tim Murphy. Behind the plate, Babineau threw out 38 percent of all attempted base stealers. Overall, the Bruins' pitchers and catchers combined to pick off and threw out runners at a 45 percent clip.
Bruin catchers helped limiting opposing hitters to a .257 batting average in 2006, as UCLA's pitching staff posted a 3.77 team ERA, the lowest mark at UCLA in since 1980. As a true freshman, Babineau started 56 of UCLA's 58 games and did not commit an error behind the plate.
Jones arrived in Westwood after having coached at UC Irvine in 2004. That season, he assisted Savage in guiding UC Irvine to a 34-23-1 overall record and the program's first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Jones began his coaching career at his alma mater - University of California, Berkeley - where he served as an undergraduate assistant from 1998 to 1999. Following his stint at California, he helped lead two collegiate summer teams to league titles - the St. Cloud Riverbats (1999) and the Brewster Whitecaps (2000).
From 2000-2002, Jones served as an associate head coach at Los Medanos College in Pittsburgh, Calif., before assuming head coaching duties prior to the 2003 season. That year, he guided Los Medanos to its first winning season and first state playoff berth in six years. His teams at Los Medanos included three major league draftees and four All-America selections.
During the summers of 2002 and 2003, Jones managed the Alexandria Beetles of the Northwoods League and led the squad to a then-franchise record 32 wins. The victory total marked the club's first-ever winning season and culminated in the team's first playoff appearance in franchise history.
Jones, 30, and his wife Angie currently reside in Los Alamitos, Calif.