By CARSON FIELD, Four Points News
For Jonathan Jones — newly appointed assistant athletic coordinator — coaching has been a dream from a young age, and he has made the most of it since arriving at Vandegrift.
Jones has coached at Vandegrift for six years, and in 2015, he was promoted to head girls’ basketball coach after a couple seasons as a boys’ basketball assistant.
While he has been coaching at the high school level for years now, Jones said his passion for coaching came years before adulthood.
“It’s kinda what I always wanted to do,” Jones said. “My dad was a coach growing up, so I was kind of a gym rat, and I loved it. And then the older I got, the more I enjoyed being around the kids and seeing them succeed and battle through adversity.”
This year, Jones led the girls’ basketball team to third place in District 25-6A at 8-4, which was good enough to clinch a playoff berth. The previous season, the Lady Vipers were district champions, finishing the season with an 11-1 district record.
After a couple of successful seasons coaching the girls’ basketball team, Jones will be promoted to assistant athletic coordinator starting next school year.
“It’s kind of a natural step going from assistant for seven years and then a head coach for three years,” Jones said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’m excited for it.”
Even though he has enjoyed success in each of his coaching stints, there have been plenty of challenges along the way.
One of the biggest challenges for Jones was learning the business of coaching.
“I think there’s just natural growing pains, but really just learning,” Jones said. “You’re learning the business, you’re learning how to do things, you learn how to do things right.”
Although Jones will still coach the varsity girls’ basketball team, he will also now serve in a new leadership position, as the assistant to Drew Sanders, Vandegrift’s head athletic coordinator.
“It’ll just be a little bit more of a leadership role, and I’ll mainly be more in charge of the girls’ side of things,” Jones said. “Being able to serve the coaches in a bigger role is what I’m excited about.”
When it’s game time, all of Jones’ focus is on the court. Off the court, his family remains one of his biggest inspirations. Jones and his wife, Bridget, have two kids, Rylin and Braxton.
Not only is his family his rock — it is also his key motivator.
“They’ve been super supportive,” Jones said. “Being a coach’s family isn’t necessarily the best thing or the prettiest life most of the time, just because there are a lot of hours that are involved, so that means there’s a lot of time away from them.”
These sacrifices allow Jones to take on a new role with the goal of making the Vandegrift athletic department even better.
“I don’t think I could do this if they weren’t as supportive, and so I thank them all the time just about how they support me,” Jones said.