/MC’s Mike Jones Born and raised to coach

MC’s Mike Jones Born and raised to coach

Jones, who is 65 years old, will be inducted into Mississippi’s Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night. There’s more. He was a coach for M.K., the Southern Miss legend. Turk built a Metro Conference program that was a powerhouse from scratch. He was a former basketball coach who became the Mississippi College’s athletic director. Since then, he has led the Clinton school to make great strides in fundraising, facilities, and all aspects of athletic competition. Jones doesn’t mention any of those things when asked about his long, productive career as a coach and administrator. Jones stated, “What I am proudest of, without any doubt, is seeing so many people changed because of the environment that we provided for our athletes in Mississippi College.” Over the years, there were some troubled children – not necessarily bad ones, but troubled children – who transformed their lives because of their time at MC. It was a life-changing experience. It was my greatest achievement.” Jones is in the Hall of Fame because of his winning. His teams won 112 games and lost 20 at Copiah-Lincoln Community College over four seasons. His teams won 324 games and lost 110 at MC over 16 seasons. This is a lot of wins. Jones’ MC teams played like a living textbook on how to play basketball. His teams were not always the best or most talented. They played the right way. His players were aware of their roles. Jones’s best shooters were the ones who took the most shots and moved them to the best spots. The best passers gave the ball to shooters at those locations. The best screeners made picks to open the shooters’ eyes. The best rebounders were always in a position to score misses. Everyone played defense. Turk and I watched Jones’ Chocs defeat a Texas team for their 17th consecutive victory in NCAA Division III competition twenty years ago. Turk said, “I don’t care what level it’s at, Mike Jones can coach. Because his children do all the right thing, he’d be a great coach at any level. “He’s one the most respected coaches in the game at any level.” Jones’ childhood memories include him wanting to be a coach. Jones once said to me, “As far as I can recall, I knew that I wanted to coach.” Sports were an integral part of my family’s life with Ray Jones, my dad. My dad was semi-pro baseball pitcher and also coached me in basketball and youth baseball. Ray Jones, who was 14 years old, died from a heart attack. His son never played in college basketball or baseball and he never coached a single game. Mike Jones, 48, was diagnosed with heart disease and had to quit coaching in order to become an athletic director full-time. In 2006, four years later, Jones was back on the sidelines. The Chocs won 46 games and lost 9. They were 35-5 in conference play during those two seasons. Jones stated, “I tried to do things differently the second round.” Jones said, “I tried to not be as intense in practice or on the bench. It was obvious that I couldn’t coach in this way. It’s not how I am wired.” He needed to have heart surgery. Jones loved the competition as much as anyone, but his heart said it was time to stop coaching. This was ten years ago. Jones admits that he misses it, but he has tried his best to improve all aspects of MC Athletics. Jones is still winning, even though there’s no scoreboard. Next Thursday: Archie Moore — yes he was actually from Mississippi.