"Coach Jones is committed to taking this team to the next level," said Faison. "Particularly in the past two seasons, with back-to-back Great West Conference Tournament championships and two straight appearances in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, we have seen significant progress. We want to continue that progress in a clearly more competitive environment - the Big Sky Conference."
UND begins play as a Big Sky Conference member this season riding the momentum of back-to-back Great West Conference Tournament titles. Two of his players, Patrick Mitchell (Des Moines, Iowa; 2011) and Jamal Webb (Buffalo, N.Y.; 2012), were named tournament MVP, while rising junior Troy Huff (Milwaukee, Wis.) has been a second-team All-GWC performer each of the past two seasons.
Mitchell was also a second team All-GWC honoree in 2011-12, while point guard Travis Bledsoe earned first team All-GWC honors in 2009-10 under Jones' guidance.
With its new affiliation and official Division I status, UND can advance to the NCAA Tournament if it were to win the 2013 Big Sky Tournament.
Jones will also return a veteran bunch seeking its third straight postseason appearance after making back-to-back trips to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. Five of the team's top six scorers from the 17-win squad last season will be juniors in 2012-13.
The sixth-year head coach has combined to win 36 games over the past two seasons, including a personal-high 19 during the 2010-11 season. Those 19 wins marked an 11-game turnaround from the previous season, which tied for the third best improvement in program history.
UND will play a 20-game Big Sky Conference slate in 2012-13, with 10 of those being played at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Head football coach Chris Mussman also had his contract extended by three years earlier this week.