New Cordova coach Jones ready for challenge

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 1/13/19

CORDOVA — Justin Jones if familiar with the winning history of Cordova High School football.

Now he’s ready to add his own chapter.

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New Cordova coach Jones ready for challenge

Posted

CORDOVA — Justin Jones if familiar with the winning history of Cordova High School football.

Now he’s ready to add his own chapter.

The Blue Devils’ new head football coach made a stop by the school with his family on Friday, one day after his hiring was made official at the Walker County Board of Education meeting.

“(Cordova) has a great history — multiple state championships, the nature of the kids, the blue-collar atmosphere — those things that usually go along with pretty good football. That would draw any coach,” Jones said. “All of those things play into why we are here. It is 4A, which is bigger than where I’ve been, but it still has the small town, community-driven feel to it, where everybody knows everybody and (the city) is going to shut down on Friday nights.”

Jones, 37, replaces Jimmy Gay, who resigned in November after six years at the helm.

Jones had success as a head coach at both New Brockton and Florala, compiling a 42-34 record in seven years. At New Brockton he led the Gamecocks to five straight playoff appearances over the last five years.

“First of all, he has a lot of head coaching experience and he has been successful — obviously that was a big factor,” said Cordova Principal Kathy Vintson, who said there were 80 applicants for the job. “We also felt he has the same vision that we have for our young people at Cordova High School. He’s a good man and he loves young people and what he does. I feel like he’s going to come in here and shake things up.

“I think he’s going to be a great coach and the team will be successful. More than that, I think he’s going to lead and mentor and guide these young men.”

Cordova advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2014-15, but struggled over the last two years, winning a total of five games, including a one-win season in 2018.

Jones said all three schools where he has taken over have been in a similar position — coming off disappointing seasons.

“All three have been in the same situation. That’s not knocking on the coach who was there before. Coach Gay is a dang good football coach, just look at his record,” Jones said.

“When you come in, first of all, you want to rejuvenate the place. That will flow out of me in general because I’m a high-energy guy who is passionate about winning and about kids. We are going to coach them hard and love them. They are going to know that when they leave every day that coach Jones and his staff care about the well being of their son.

“Our job is to jump in here and build relationships with the kids and their families. Then we have to work on the staffing part of it. To get things turned around you’ve got to get everybody on the same page. I’ve been able to be successful at flipping programs, that’s why I’m here. It fits in to what I’ve been able to do in the past. It’s an exciting time for Cordova and for us too.”

Jones said he will begin a normal schedule of trips to Cordova starting in February.

Jones is a graduate of Enterprise High School and West Alabama. He is married to wife Joni and has four children, Anna, 16, Abby 11, Jacub, 10, and Kaleb, 7.