Jared Ronai enters his fifth season as the head coach of the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s basketball team in 2018-19. During his short time with the program Ronai has guided the Cougars to a 52-40 record, with those 52 wins being the most by any coach in program history during their first three seasons.
Ronai quickly made his mark on the program during his first season, leading MVNU to one of the biggest season turnarounds in the country- improving by 12 wins from the year before. The Cougar head coach guided his team to a 19-12 overall record, with a 9-9 mark in Crossroads League, and made the Crossroads League Tournament for the first time since entering the conference.
During the 2015-16 campaign the Cougars finished 14-16 with the youngest roster in the Crossroads League. The Cougars also finished the season in notable fashion by winning three of their final four contests, with two of those wins coming against teams who were ranked or receiving votes in the national polls.
The 2016-17 season saw MVNU finish with the most regular season wins (19) since the ’08-’09 season. MVNU finished with eight Crossroads League wins, the second most since joining the league, and received votes in the NAIA national top 25 poll for five consecutive polls.
In three seasons Ronai has tutored five players into ten All-Crossroads League honors including Bryan Redic ’15 (2014-15 All-Crossroads League Honorable Mention), Martell Medley ’15 (2014-15 All- Crossroads League 2nd Team), Josh Ashwill ’17 (2014-15 Crossroads League All-Defensive Team, 2015- 16 All-Crossroads League 3rd Team, 2016-17 All-Crossroads League 2nd Team and All Defensive Team), Brett Vipperman ’19 (2015-16 Crossroads League All-Newcomer Team, 2016-17 All-Crossroads League 3rd Team) and another 2016-17 Crossroads League All-Defensive Team and 2016-17 Crossroads League All-Newcomer Team awardee.
Ronai was named the tenth coach in program history in August 2014 and came to MVNU from NCAA Division I University of North Carolina-Asheville. While there he served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Bulldogs during the 2013-14 campaign.
"First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His perfect timing and for guiding my family through this journey," Ronai said. "I also want to thank Coach Veale, Dr. Spaulding, Dr. Sessink, and the rest of the search committee for the opportunity to continue my coaching career at such a wonderful University. I also want to thank Nick McDevitt, John Ellenwood, and my father, Bob Ronai; all incredible head coaches I have had the opportunity to learn and grow from. My wife and I are ecstatic about having the opportunity to come back home to Ohio and be a part of such an exceptional community and University. I know the great reputation and tradition of excellence that the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men's program has and I look forward to building our "RULE Cougar" culture one day and one step at a time. This is going to take an incredible amount of commitment from both coaches and players, but I'm looking forward to and embrace the challenges ahead."
As a player at the collegiate level, Ronai competed at both the NCAA Division I and NAIA levels, getting his start at UNC-Asheville before finishing up at Georgia Southwestern State University. At Georgia Southwestern, Ronai was the starting point guard for two seasons, helping to lead his team to the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City, and receiving the prestigious Champions of Character Award.
Ronai is a graduate of Georgia Southwestern State and earned his Masters of Education degree from the University of Dayton. He played for his father, Bob Ronai, at London High School where he was a first team All-Ohio choice and the conference, county and district player of the year. He posted over 1,000 points and 500 plus assists in his career.
Since his playing days, Ronai has been the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Ashland University and UNC Asheville, as well as the associate head coach at Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio. He also served as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Dayton and was a Strength and Conditioning Intern at the United States Naval Academy in the summer of 2006.
Ronai and his wife, Kristin, have a son, Kyler James, and are expecting another child in October 2017. They reside in Mount Vernon.