• 41°

Jones’ death means loss of good friend

Early Saturday morning the joys of winning or anguish of losing on Friday night seemed insignificant once the news leaked that John Jones had died.

Jones, 46, was a long-time educator at the Collins Career Center and Coal Grove High School. He also spent time as an assistant football coach and made his biggest impact as the Hornets’ head baseball coach.

No, hold that thought. Jones made his biggest impact with those he came in contact. A big man who was as gentle as his size, there wasn’t anyone I knew who didn’t like or respect him.

There were a lot of conversations and baseball game reports in the evenings during the spring, but just being friends and “shooting the breeze” with John was a lot more fun.

John loved coaching baseball. He worked hard at his program. He manicured his field. But more importantly he cared about his players. He spent time with them and tried to teach them more than just baseball.

Although he loved coaching baseball, John made the difficult decision to give up his love of the game for an even greater love, his children. John told me he was quitting so he could spent his time watching his children play their favorite sports.

But John’s love of Coal Grove went beyond coaching and teaching. He was involved in the Hornets’ Nest athletic boosters with meetings held in his classroom.

A devout Christian, John was the local director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletics at Coal Grove.

Although he loved coaching baseball, John made the difficult decision to give up his love of the game for an even greater love, his children.

John told me he was quitting so he could spend his evenings watching his children play their favorite sports.

John’s father Eugene “Bounce” Jones died several years ago. Bounce was a big supporter of athletics at Coal Grove much like his son, but Bounce was never more proud of anything than his son.

If his father were alive to see what an impact John had in the school and community and what kind of a man he was, Bounce would have erupted with pride.

And rightly so.

Like so many others, I’m gonna miss you, John.

— Sinatra ––

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.