Every Jan. 26, I post a remembrance of Coach Bear Bryant who passed away on Jan. 26, 1983. These posts are on my blog, jayopsis.com, as well as this site.
This year, I am so happy to post a couple of memories from Joey Jones.
This is Joey's bio from wikipedia:
Jones is a graduate of Mobile's Murphy High School. He played college football for coach Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. Jones lettered with the Tide from 1979 to 1983, graduating with a degree in business administration. As a wide receiver, he tallied 71 receptions, 1,386 yards and 15 touchdowns. He ranked third among Alabama's career touchdown receivers and seventh in career receiving yards. He was named All-SEC as a senior and chosen to participate in the Senior Bowl. He was a member of the University of Alabama's All-Decade Team for the 1980s and played professionally with the Birmingham Stallions of the United States Football League and the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons.
In 1989, Jones took his first coaching job as an assistant coach on the Briarwood Christian School staff in Birmingham, Alabama. After two years at Briarwood, he took the job as head coach at Dora where he led his team to a 24–11 record over three seasons. In 1996, Jones was hired as the head coach at Mountain Brook High School. At Mountain Brook, he led his team to the 1996 Class 6A state championship game, four region titles, two semifinal appearances and three quarterfinal appearances. Jones went 101–27 over ten seasons in charge of the Spartans.
After compiling a .767 winning percentage as an Alabama high school coach, Jones was hired as the new head coach at Birmingham–Southern College, where he led the team to a 1–7 record in its first season in NCAA Division III football in 2007. Jones was the first coach of the Panthers since 1939, when the football program was disbanded.
After only one season at BSC, Jones accepted the same position at the University of South Alabama in February 2008. He was the first coach for the Jaguars and was in charge of creating the program. The team began play in 2009, and joined the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) in 2012 as members of the Sunbelt Conference.
Jones led South Alabama to a 23–4 record in his first three seasons at South Alabama as Division-I FCS independent. After initially struggling after moving to the Sun Belt Conference with a 2–11 record in 2012, the team has since improved and posted a winning record against in-conference competition. The 2014 season saw South Alabama selected to the 2014 Camellia Bowl, their first bowl game.
On February 22, 2018 Jones was hired as Special Teams Coordinator at Mississippi State University.
Joey is now retired from football and now enjoys spending time with his family and splits time between Orange Beach and Birmingham.
JOEY JONES ON COACH BRYANT
" I have many wonderful memories about Coach Bryant...but a couple that really impacted my life in a positive way. I signed a scholarship at the University of Alabama in 1980. Upon arrival, I soon found out that my ego would be in check as I looked at the depth chart...my name was 6th on the list...crushing my world. After all, being an All-State receiver out of Murphy HS, I was thinking maybe 5th string..Ha! I felt as if Coach Bryant didn't even know my name. Well, I kept on working through my freshman year and didn't play much. So hopes were high going into the next year because one receiver graduated and moved up to 5th string. To make a long story short, at our 1st game vs LSU, four of the receivers ahead of me were injured. Here was my chance! The next game, as I was somewhat nervously warming up for the game, Coach Bobby Marks, who seemed more nervous than me, grabbed my face mask and said 'don't you get me fired today!' The second series, Walter Lewis threw a perfect deep pass to me and all I could think as the ball was traveling 60 yards in the air was that "I better not get Coach Marks fired". The ball landed perfectly and I caught it for a 50 yard TD pass! Soon after that, Coach Bryant came up to me and put his arm around me and just stared in my eyes and smiled. My confidence went straight through the roof. From that point forward, I felt as if I had finally proved myself to him. Coach Marks phrased it this way...'You have gone from the outhouse to the penthouse'.
Through this experience, he taught me to 'earn my stripes', that no one would be 'given' anything.
After he retired, we were on the elevator together. He asked me if I liked to bass fish. I said yes and he responded 'when it warms up this spring, I would like to take you fishing'. I said 'Yes Sir! Can't wait!' And then, a couple of weeks later, Coach Bryant died. I felt like he was my second father..a man who taught me how to earn my stripes and be a gentleman off the field. I am forever grateful to have the honor to play for him....but I sure would have loved to catch a few bass with him and just talk about life.
I appreciate Coach Bryant for so many things. He was the most sincere man I knew...what you saw on TV was the same man on the field. A very competitive coach on the field and a 1st class gentleman off the field. He always had a plan, and a way to achieve that plan."
I also want to mention that Joey's book, "In Good Hands" is an excellent recollection of the transition from Coach Bryant's last season and Coach Ray Perkins first season at Alabama.
Click on the link below to view it on Amazon.