Charlotte, NC – Johnson & Wales head women’s basketball coach John Jordan passed away on Saturday after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, the university announced.
Jordan was the first coach in program history, leading the Wildcats to a 10-14 record in their inaugural season this past year.
Prior to Johnson & Wales, Jordan coached on the professional, collegiate, and national high school levels of the game and is remembered by many for his colorful persona and caring personality.
“John was a true mentor, and because of that he was able to have an impact on young people, associates, colleagues, and really anyone who worked with him,” said Stephen Byrd, Director of Athletics. “In the truest sense, he really did cherish the opportunity to better the lives of others.”
A native of Raleigh, Jordan was one of only a handful of American FIBA licensed coaches and worked with such talents as Chris “Birdman” Anderson, Becky Hammon, Richard Dumas, Mitchell Wiggins, Kenny Battle, and the late Lorenzo Charles.
Chuck Charles, the Assistant Director of Athletics at Johnson & Wales, remembered Jordan as a vibrant personality.
“John had this infectious energy and enthusiasm that he brought to work each and every day,” he said. “He always came into the office with his trademark, ‘It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!’ and no matter what was going on that day, you just had to smile. He genuinely cared about our students, and not just his basketball players, but all of them.”
Jordan was a highly recognized and respected coach at the high school level for both boys and girls, regularly placing his teams in USA Today and ESPN national polls. He sent 45 players on to the collegiate level – including 32 to the NCAA Division 1 level. Thirteen were McDonald’s All-American nominees.
One of his players who earned All-American honors is also his daughter, Jamie Jordan. The younger Jordan will continue her father’s legacy at Johnson & Wales by assisting the women’s basketball program this season.
She will be working alongside former WNBA coach and general manager Trudi Lacey, who will look to fill the void created by her long-time friend and colleague at the Charlotte-based campus.
“John was a great guy,” said Lacey, former head coach of the Washington Mystics. “He was full of life, had a passion for the game of basketball, and loved his players – and his players loved him.
“He touched a lot of lives throughout his coaching career. He was a very dear friend to me, and we all will miss him greatly. We will continue to build upon his legacy at Johnson & Wales. His kind spirit set a great example for all of us.”
Dylan Auman, who served as Jordan’s assistant coach last year and will serve in the same capacity under Lacey, lauded Jordan’s work ethic and loyalty to his players and staff.
“Coach Jordan was someone who gave extreme amounts of his time and effort to the individuals around him, helping them to bring out the best in themselves every single day,” said Auman. “Never once did he ever give less.“