Impact Christian Academy Sports Leadership
Head Basketball Coach
Coach Ben Jones has been coaching the game of basketball for 14 years. His passion for developing young men through basketball became evident at the age of 19 when he founded and coached an AAU program in his hometown of Detroit, MI. During those early stages of his coaching career, Coach Jones developed a drive to mentor student-athletes, and to push them to achieve beyond what they thought possible. While his summers were spent coaching, his winters were spent competing as a member of the basketball team at Edward Waters College, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
Following graduation, Coach Jones served as Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Edward Waters College before serving in the same capacity at several Jacksonville-area high schools over the course of the next few years. In 2011, while working as a classroom teacher at Ed White High School, Coach Jones was offered and subsequently accepted the position as Head Boys Basketball Coach. Then began his long-awaited tenure as a high school head coach.
Upon accepting this position at Ed White in October 2011, few could have predicted the dramatic and prestigious transformation the program would soon undergo. Inheriting a program that was 14-15 in the year prior to his arrival, Jones transformed the Commanders into a state power. In his first season, the three time District Coach of The Year, guided the Commanders to their first District Championship in 22 years and only the school’s second in its 41 year history. During the next four years, Coach Jones led the Commanders to 2 more District Championships, 2 District Runner-Ups, 1 Gateway Conference Championship, and deep playoff runs that included a trip to the FHSAA Final Four in 2014.
After 5 years as Head Boys Basketball Coach at Ed White HS, Coach Jones left with a combined record of 107-36 and the honorable distinction of winningest basketball coach in school history. Despite his success at Ed White, Coach Jones says that he felt “led of God” to accept a position as Impact Christian Academy’s first Varsity Head Basketball Coach. As a devout Christian and the son of a pastor, Jones states that his desire to “infuse the Christian faith” into his efforts to influence the lives of student-athletes was one that he could no longer ignore. Coach Jones brings this strong desire and unparalleled leadership with him as he now starts the 2016-2017 season as ICA’s first Varsity Boys Basketball Coach. He looks to build a national basketball powerhouse that will bring glory to God.
Associate Basketball Coach and Athletic Coordinator
Coach Ryan Thomas brings a great deal of basketball knowledge and experience to Impact Christian Academy. A native of Michigan, Coach Thomas fell in love with the game of basketball at an early age. After a solid high school playing career (which included an undefeated regular season during his senior year), Coach Thomas went on to play Division I basketball at Central Michigan University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
After earning his degree, Ryan moved to Jacksonville, Florida to begin a career as a Life Coach for a local non-profit. After some time in this position, Ryan’s passion for helping young people and his love for basketball would lead him to begin a new career as a basketball coach. In 2013, Ryan’s success as a coach led him to start Hoopgrind Basketball Inc. HoopGrind is a total player development program designed to propel young people into greatness on and off the court. Through his efforts at Hoopgrind, Ryan has developed a reputation for excellence while running basketball camps, player development clinics and coaching at the youth and AAU levels.
Also in 2013, Coach Thomas joined current ICA Head Basketball Coach Ben Jones at Ed White High School where he held positions as a classroom teacher, Dean of Students and Assistant Athletic Director. Coach Thomas was also an integral part of the success of Ed White’s Boys Basketball team where he served as an assistant coach. During his tenure at Ed White, the basketball team has been ranked in the top 5 of their state classification, won a Gateway Conference championship, multiple district championships, and made a run to the FHSAA Final Four.
Ryan names his faith in God, his wife Richelle, and basketball among the things that are most important to him. He and Richelle are members at East Point Church where Ryan serves as a Deacon. Both he and his wife are excited about the door that God has opened at Impact Christian Academy. According to Ryan, he is “motivated to turn Impact Christian Academy into a place where lives are changed through faith, hard work, and character development.” It is his desire to utilize his position as coach to continue to influence the lives of many.