Special to the Madison County Journal

JACKSON - Belhaven University and Vice President for Athletics Scott Little are pleased to announce the hiring of Jonathan Vines as the next head coach for the Men's Basketball program.

"Jonathan has been instrumental in helping build a nationally competitive NCAA Division III program at Birmingham Southern," said Little. "He also helped guide the program through their transition to NCAA Division III membership. Combine that with his faith and educational background, and he'll be right at home at Belhaven. We're excited to have Jonathan, Ashton and Ann Hudson join the Blazers family."

Vines becomes the eighth coach of the Blazers and comes to Belhaven after serving as an assistant coach at Birmingham Southern College since January of 2007. Under Chris Graves, Vines served as the primary assistant for the Panthers since 2011.

"We want to thank Dr. Parrott and Vice President Little for this amazing opportunity," said Vines. "I am honored and humbled to be a part of the Blazers family. Belhaven University has a proud basketball tradition, one that the players and I will strive to compliment with a championship-level effort. We will meet the challenges of our transition to the NCAA with a focus and fortitude worthy of the title, Blazers Basketball. I look forward to implementing a fun, fast-paced style of play on both offense and defense. Together, we will create a culture of excellence in which our players will have every opportunity afforded to them to grow spiritually, academically, and athletically."

Over the last five seasons at BSC, Vines helped guide the Panthers to three conference championships and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2012, BSC's first eligible postseason year after transitioning to NCAA Division III. During the five-year run, the Panthers put together a 105-30 (.778) record, including a 60-16 mark in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) and, more recently, Southern Athletic Association (SAA) play. During that time period, BSC developed a fortress at home, going 62-3 in front of the home fans.

Vines, a native of Birmingham, Ala., returns to the Jackson area after playing college basketball at Millsaps College from 1999-00 under former Ole Miss and Houston Rockets great John Stroud.

Vines went on to earn his Bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi in English in 2003 and also has done extensive work toward his Master's Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in English Literature with a focus on Old English and Linguistics.

In the prep ranks, Vines starred at Briarwood Christian High School for Coach Chris Laatsch. He earned All-State, All-Metro and ABC 33/40 Player of The Week honors in addition to being named Shelby County Player of The Year by the Birmingham News. Vines achieved local-legend status when he set a 3A state record for consecutive free throws during the 1998-99 season, connecting on 49 straight attempts.