Jones to speak at Achiever banquet

Published 4:04 pm Friday, April 13, 2012

University of South Alabama head football coach Joey Jones will serve as the keynote speaker at the 15th annual Butler County Achiever Award Banquet.

The Achiever Award recognizes top student athletes from across the county that excel both athletically and academically, while also serving their communities. Twenty-three students have been nominated to receive this year’s award.

This year’s event will be held May 3 at First Baptist Church.

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“We’re really looking forward to having the chance to recognize these outstanding young people,” said Francine Wasden, a member of the Achiever Award board directors. “They are certainly all worthy of being named achievers.”

Jones, a Mobile native, is South Alabama’s first head football coach.

Just 22 months after taking over the reins of the school’s start-up football program, Jones helped lead the Jags to an undefeated record in its first-ever season on the field in 2009. In 2010, the coach guided the team to a 10-0 record. Last season, the Jaguars finished with a 6-4 mark.

Prior to taking over at USA, Jones was the head coach at Birmingham-Southern.

Success has followed Jones throughout his career, both as a coach and as a player. Before moving into the college ranks, he compiled an impressive 125-38 record in 13 years at the high school level, including a 10-year run at Birmingham’s Mountain Brook High, where he was 101-27 from 1996 to 2005.

After inheriting a program that had endured nine consecutive losing seasons, Jones directed the Spartans to the 1996 Class 6A state championship game, four region titles, two semifinal appearances and three quarterfinal appearances during his tenure.

Jones began his head coaching career at Dora High School, where he registered a 24-11 mark in three seasons.

As a player, Jones was an All-Southeastern Conference performer at the University of Alabama, where he began his playing career under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

In Jones’ four seasons in Tuscaloosa, the Tide compiled a record of 35-12-1, including two Cotton Bowl appearances.  He finished his career with 71 receptions, 1,386 yards and 15 touchdowns, ranking fourth on the career touchdown receptions chart and seventh in career receiving yards.

Jones was named to Alabama’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s and played professionally with the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

Tickets for the Achiever Award dinner, which will begin at 6:30 p.m., can be purchased at the Greenville YMCA. The cost is $15.