Since I began covering local sports in 1979...the Mississippi Gulf Coast has had an array of outstanding high school coaches. When it came to track and field, one man stood out among the pack...Prince Jones.
Jones was a dedicated coach in the Gulfport school system from 1967 through 2007. His coaching style had an uplifting effect on his athletes.
His training sessions prepared them to excel. He helped them fine tune their talents into a cohesive machine that didn't miss a beat.
Jones says his success was based on placing athletes in the right position.
"I think that the Lord bless every coach with different styles of techniques, "said Jones. "A good coach can pick it out. So when it came time for district, I had a good idea where to put someone."
Prince Jones pulled all the right strings. Here's the proof...his Admirals captured first-place in 248 of 293 track and field meets, that included nine boys state titles and two girls cross country state championships.
Brittany Reese is his most celebrated track star. Reese won Olympic Gold in the long jump at the 2012 London Games and won a silver medal in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Reese is shown here at a 2003 Gulfport High practice session under the watchful eye of coach Jones After she won the gold medal in 2012, Prince had a special gleam in his eyes.
Jones said, "I've had a lot of great moments in coaching but this right here just set itself from everything else. When you get a kid that you had the opportunity to work with and she won the Olympics competing against the world, what can you say. Just tremendous job and I think by far it would have to be No. 1 in my coaching career."
Coach Jones says his goal as a young coach was to become a head football or head basketball coach. At the time Gulfport High athletic director Lindy Callahan asked him to interview for the head coaching job in track. He got the job and the rest is history.
Tomorrow I take a Look Back to a special team that put the game on ice.
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