Before Jonathan Nevol arrived at the University of Mississippi in 2008, before he earned his B.S. in 2012, and before he completed his M.S. in 2014, he had hoop dreams.
"I wanted to play basketball, or maybe be a coach," he remembers. "I grew up with a basketball. It was always my childhood favorite, growing up, through high school. It was something I knew I wanted to do when I got to Ole Miss.”
During Nevol’s freshmen year he began working as a student manager for the University’s varsity men’s basketball team. As his senior year approached, the team offered him a position as a Graduate Assistant Coach.
“After I left Ole Miss, it seems like stuff just started happening, started progressing, one thing after another. I went down to Jones. I came back here. I went back down to Jones.”
Indeed, after his time as a Graduate Assistant Coach, Nevol took a job as an Assistant Coach at Jones County Junior College. Then, a position as head video coordinator back at the University of Mississippi. Then, a position as Lead Assistant Coach back at Jones County Junior College, where he helped lead the program to state and regional titles and an appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament “Sweet Sixteen.”
Now? Head Men’s Varsity Basketball Coach at Blue Mountain College (Blue Mountain, Mississippi).
At 27, Nevol is one of the youngest men’s coaches in college sports, and his hire caused a great deal of local buzz.
Despite his age, Nevol describes his journey from student manager to head basketball coach as "a long time coming."
"It was just time. I knew I had put in the work. I knew I had earned it. I was ready for it though.”
Nevol is prepared to face the challenge of leading his own program. “We gon’ embrace the grind. That’s the thing I always say. Life is hard. The game is hard. Building a successful program is hard. But, you just have to embrace that grind.”
Nevol points to a number of lessons that he’s learned from his time in the game. “I love the game, I think because it lets me be who I am, but at the same time it pushes me out of my comfort zone a little. Communications skills, interacting with different people and cultures, traveling to different parts of the world. Basketball has taught me so much.”
Nevol's first introduction to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity was through family members, but points to the campus presence of Eta Beta as the factor that ultimately drew him in.
“It’s always been a family thing. I got a uncle that pledged Sigma, and my mom is a Zeta. So, it’s always been a family thing. But, then when I got to Ole Miss and saw (the Sigmas) on the yard, that’s when I knew.”
Of the most valuable thing he’s gained in his eight years in the fraternity, Nevol notes, “Friends. I’ve seen the true meaning of brotherhood, of having a brother."