Realty One


Sunday, December 13, 2015


By: John Madewell
News Channgel 9

South Pittsburg, Tenn. — Chris Jones is home in South Pittsburg, enjoying a cup of coffee Friday morning with old friends at Harvey's Pirate Drive-In.

They ask him how cold the victory douse he got after winning the Grey Cup was. "It was cold," Jones said to much laughter.

He coached the Edmonton Eskimos to championship glory at the end of last month in the Canadian Football League.

He's been in that league for 14 years, with four different teams.

All of them have won the Grey Cup. "It's been awful good to me, you know what I'm saying. The league's been good to me. I've got to meet Doug Flutie, I've got to meet Warren Moon."

He's come a long way, after growing up in a public housing apartment. Jones played football for South Pittsburg and UTC, then coached in the high school and college ranks for about 10 years. He spent most of his years at Tennessee Tech, but was also a graduate assistant at Alabama.

The story of how he made it into the professional ranks is a classic one.

While at Tennessee Tech, Jones befriended Paul Jones, the personnel director at Edmonton. Paul Jones had heard Chris Jones had a "decent eye" for talent. He was also very close to Edmonton's hall of fame coach, Don Matthews. The South Pittsburg native received an invite to come to camp as a "guest coach." Some of the players noticed his talent and recommended him for hire. He went back to Tennessee Tech and continued on a recruiting trip to Mobile, Alabama. "I was sitting at a recruit's house and I got a phone call and it was Paul. He said, 'Well, you ready to go to Canada?' Come to find out, this guy (the recruit) was the first cousin of one of the players at Edmonton." That player was one Jones had "stood up on the table for" while he was doing his guest coach stint.

His path to Canada took another favorable turn. "So the next day, I go up, we're over at Daphne High School where they have the practice and Don Matthews walks up and goes, 'It's your job, you just have to get your numbers worked out with this guy, Jim Popp,' and walks off. Jim Popp was the general manager (of the Montreal Alouettes). He comes up, offers me a contract. I take it back to Cookeville, the rest is history."

What a history it has been. In the C-F-L, he definitely found his niche as a defensive guru. He started in Montreal in 2001 as a defensive line coach. The next seven years he was the Alouettes defensive coordinator. In '08, he moved to Calgary as the defensive coordinator. Next, he took his talents to Toronto where he worked as defensive coordinator and assistant general manager. In 2013, Edmonton came calling and Jones was head coach for two years.

He lived in a hotel in downtown Edmonton. It worked well with his schedule. "You pay one bill a month and you go home, the restaurant's right there. You can grab a bite to eat, go straight up. Because I go to work at 3 o'clock in the morning and I get off at 7 o'clock at night, seven days a week," Jones said.

This week, he took that work ethic to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He will be head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations.

I asked him why he's had such success. "I never have lost, I don't think I've lost where I come from, you know I look forward to coming home, enjoying sitting around and drinking a cup of coffee with these kind of folks. I think that's probably what helps me most of all."

As the coffee and conversation wind down, friend and fellow football coach Jim Clepper put Jones' success this way. "He's our shining light. The whole town's really fired up about him. He's done, as the old saying goes, he's done good," Clepper said.

He returns to Saskatchewan Monday to put a staff together.

All of his coaches from Edmonton will go with him.

During football season, he constantly keeps tabs on Marion County, South Pitt and the Chattanooga Mocs - staying true to his roots.


Unknown said...

All of his coaches are coming here ?? Chapdelaine gone ?
Travis J.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Reference the Edmonton Sun article that appears on your twitter feed, I really wonder why anyone in Alberta thinks they have any room to complain about Chris Jones or the Riders.A lack of loyalty to anything other than money has become so much a part of Alberta's culture that a person moving on to a better job with a higher salary should be celebrated in Alberta as a smart move. The reason that Albertans are so upset about this Chris Jones situation is that it is just another signal that the tide has turned, and they can no longer just throw money at anything they want and have it, they have to compete. Does anyone else remember Larry Rickman throwing money at Flutie to lure him from BC? How many FAs have the EEs been able to sign by throwing more money at them than the Riders could afford?
All of this perfectly illustrates the hypocritical nature of Alberta. They were all to happy to throw money around when they knew it was an easy alternative to fair competition, and now the playing field has leveled out.

The bully now has to face the fact that the rest of the kids on the block have grown up, and things won't be as easy as they were before.

Anonymous said...

Alberta is now a province of socialist's, personal growth and success is no longer acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Not long now and Jones will be back in the States - his family never left.
Say good bye

Anonymous said...

The point is that one should never hire a person who puts money first ahead of all else like Jone does. This applies to all walks of life.

Anonymous said...

well said.

Go Riders!!


Anonymous said...

Anon #3: Please remember that not every one in Alberta cheers for Stamps/Esks/Oilers or Flames just as not every one in Sask cheers for the Riders.
Medicine Hat
Go Riders/Habs/Tigers

Anonymous said...

Travis J: We can only hope.

Anonymous said...

The point is that your comment is the battle cry of the loser. Those who win get more money, plain and simple. We will only have Jones for a short time, and as long as he delivers results that is perfectly acceptable. A man who works from 3am until 7pm has the right to advance himself by any (legal) means he sees fit. Loyalty is a perfectly wonderful concept, but it has its limits.

Anonymous said...

most of the posters on this topic are equal parts hypocrite and stupid. Neither you can fix. Tell me anyone that would take a job if offered twice the money you were earning for doing roughly the same job? That's right. Loyalty in sports has gone the way of the unicorn many decades ago, Even the great Babe Ruth was bought by a more cash flush club, and paid more. It's happened forever and will continue to. What idiot would post "you shouldn't hire anyone who puts money first"? What rock you been under? Why would you think 99% of the players would come here? Why 95% do not make this place their home. Miss a chance to to freeze your butt off, and maybe get a chance to get job with SaskTel?

Chris Jones came from a poor family in a housing project. He work hard to earn everything he's got. What proof do you have he does everything for money? He got a rightful big promotion to right this sinking ship, and to build a future for his wife and children. He doesn't have a lucrative government pension to fall back on so he has to survive other ways. No matter how hard this guy has worked to succeed, there are a few petty people who try to urinate on his parade. Utter shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Bob Dyce = Ottawa REDBLACKS.

Anonymous said...

Wait, what. A person puts money ahead of all else should not be hired. Sooo, never except a promotion in life I guess.

He didn't just get more money. He got more responsibility. If you dont want that in your life, it might help explain your situation.

Anonymous said...

All those putting loyalty before money are living in the right province. Stay true to your job and work as close to minimum wage as possible. Expect few benefits as the capitalists need to direct all monies into the corporation. When the CEO makes 17 to 25 times more than the workers create a rags to riches story about hard work for justification. Once the corporation has exhausted you, retire to any one of the homes here specializing in efficient service including neglect and abuse. Sing the praises of the business forward govt and defame socialist ones.
Now you know why this place is not a destination but a stop over. It's not the weather.

Anonymous said...

Edmonton Eskimos 2015 Grey Cup Champs suck it up whined ill and loser nation keep dreaming about ever winning another cup ,you can have trader Jones and his sucky attitude,we have a real coach in the city of champs .

Anonymous said...

It's amazing the crap that has been spewed out on here regarding our new coach. Can't we wait for the season to start before the bitching starts? Or are you dumbasses hoping he fails miserably just to prove yourselves right? Gee whiz. How about we welcome him into our community like the good people we say we are and make him feel at home.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha, jealous hater.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the green/golds finish last the previous 5 years?