Phil Jones reception at Rome Civic Center

In this 2017 file photo Phil Jones (left), the first football coach for Shorter University, speaks with Craig Lawson, who was part of the team during its inaugural season in 2005, during a reception to honor Jones at the Rome Civic Center.

Shorter University is establishing an endowment in memory of former head football coach Phil Jones, the school announced Monday. The endowment will benefit the football program Jones was instrumental in building.

“We have set aside $25,000 to establish the Coach Phil Jones Memorial Endowment to honor the memory of Coach Jones and thank Janie Jones for their dedication, hard work, and commitment to Shorter University and the Lord Jesus Christ,” Shorter University President Don Dowless said in a release.

Jones was hired as Shorter’s first-ever football coach in 2004 to build the newly established program. In 2008, he was named the Grant Teaff Fellowship of Christian Athletes National Coach of the Year. Joining an elite class of honorees that included Tommy Bowden, Sylvester Croom and Tommy Tuberville, Jones was also named the American Football Coaches Association’s NAIA Division I Coach of the Year in 2008.

Jones came to Shorter from NCAA 1-AA (now FCS) Gardner-Webb University. He served as an assistant coach for the Running Bulldogs, who won back-to-back Big South Conference championships during his tenure. Prior to Gardner-Webb, Jones served as an assistant coach at Southern Methodist University and coached under Jim Donnan at the University of Georgia from 1997 to 2001.

In addition to his collegiate coaching success, Jones coached Georgia high school football for 29 years, his last stop coming at Winder-Barrow High (1984-97), where he led his teams to the playoffs eight times. In 1993, Winder-Barrow advanced to the State AAA semifinals, earning Jones the honor of 1993 AAA Coach of the Year. His career included 47 seasons as a coach.

Contributions to the Phil Jones Endowment may be made online at or by mailing a check with Coach Jones Endowment in the memo line to Shorter University Advancement, 315 Shorter Ave., Rome, GA 30165.

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