Jerry Jones, who won more than 600 basketball games in 52 seasons as a head coach, passed away on Wednesday.
Born in 1943, Jones was a 1961 graduate of Dalton High School and a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia before he began his prep coaching career. He coached briefly at Jordan High School in Columbus and later at old Westside High in Whitfield County, but he spent the bulk of his career in Catoosa County.
He served as head coach at Ringgold and LFO and also coached briefly at Northwest Whitfield and North Georgia Christian, but it is his long stints with the Tigers and Warriors that he will be most remembered for, especially at LFO where the gym was named for him in 2010.
Jones guided three Ringgold teams to the state tournament and had three more state qualifiers at LFO. His teams made the state's Sweet 16 three times and he picked up his milestone 600th win in January of 2016 as LFO defeated Gordon Central, 50-47 in overtime.
Jones had battled health issues in recent years. He developed very serious complications following surgery in 2014, but in typical gritty, Jerry Jones-style, he battled back to return his familiar spot on the LFO bench.
However, facing more health problems and saying that he wanted what was best for the players and the LFO program, Jones opted to retire on July 18, 2018.
He served as LFO's Athletic Director from 1995-2003 and was named Region 7-AAAA Athletic Director of the Year twice. He was also named Region Coach of the Year on five different occasions and was the North coach for the GACA All-Star Game in 1995. He coached in the Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Game in the early-mid 2000's and was able to coach sons J.R. and Steve during their high school playing days.
More than 50 players that played for Jones went on to sign college basketball scholarships.
He was honored in late April with the first-ever Legacy Builder Award at LFO’s recent Feather Awards ceremony at the Catoosa Colonnade.