Breaking News
More () »

Louisville's Walz helps out Iowa recruit Ava Jones and family after tragic crash last summer

Iowa's head coach recalls the moment she reached out to coach Jeff Walz after Jones and her family went through a tragedy while in Louisville.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville women’s basketball team is headed to the Elite 8 once again and they will face one of the best teams in the country – Iowa.

Both teams have superstars in Hailey Van Lith and Caitlyn Clark, but these two programs share another connection.

Iowa commit Ava Jones was in Louisville with her family for a basketball tournament when they were hit by a driver under the influence of opioids.

Jones’ father was killed and she along with her mother suffered serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries and several broken bones.

Before Sunday night’s game in Seattle, Louisville coach Jeff Walz and Iowa coach Lisa Bluder discussed the aftermath from that night.

“I reached out to Jeff and Jeff provided a car for the family to use at no expense and it was immediate. It was like not even a thought, it was something he wanted to do for that family,” Bluder said. “And so, you know, I just think he’s really a good guy. You know that speaks volumes about a person when they’re helping you when you’re in need like that.”

Walz added, “And it took one phone call to one of our boosters and it was, like, ‘It’s a done deal. Do not worry about it.’” Walz said. “They have a car dealership and within 10 minutes they had her a car. It’s what our basketball community’s all about. Sure, we’re all trying to beat each other and you’re trying to advance, you’re trying to win, but at the end of the day it’s just about being a good person and doing what’s right.” 

Louisville and Iowa are expected to tip off at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.  

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, or visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed 

Sign up for the WHAS11 newsletter: "WHAS Up Kentuckiana." Get the latest headlines and videos from around Kentuckiana delivered daily to your inbox. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out