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Family of slain basketball coach seeks to help build gym at Cardinal Gibbons, where he once taught

The family of one of Baltimore’s shooting victims is raising funds to breathe new life into the shuttered high school where he once coached basketball.

The family of Brian O’Neil Jones, who was killed in 2005, announced a campaign last week to help build the gym lobby in Cardinal Gibbons High School, where Jones coached basketball between 1995 and 2005.

Officials with the Y in Central Maryland announced plans last year to transform Cardinal Gibbons into a full-service YMCA.

The gym lobby is to be named in Jones’ honor. Five days after the fundraiser began, friends and family have raised about $500 of their $50,000 goal.

"What better way to honor our late son than by permanently fixing his memory among the halls of the place he loved dearly," Jones’ father, Gerald Jones, wrote on the fundraiser site.

Brian “Neil” Jones was a 33-year-old husband and software engineer with three children when he was killed in November 2005 in an apparently unprovoked shooting. The Y fundraising page said Jones inspired hundreds of young men while he volunteer-coached at Cardinal Gibbons.

His family vowed to forgive Alvin Augustus Williams, the man who was convicted of killing him. "The only way I can live my life each day without the idea of wanting to do something to this guy because he's done something to you, the only way I can do that is to forgive him," said Gerald Jones to The Baltimore Sun in 2007.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore closed the high school in the Morrell Park neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore in 2010. It was among more than a dozen schools closed due to sagging enrollment and high costs.

The renovation is part of a $16 million campaign to make improvements to the Druid Hill and Weinberg Ys and create the new center on the site of Cardinal Gibbons, according to a posting on the Y’s website.

crentz@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cdrentz

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