Interview with Elizabeth City State University Head Football Coach and Offensive Coordinator Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones has distinguished himself as a major player in football—from being one of the winningest coaches in Alabama A&M University history to amassing accolades such as the SIAC Coach of the Year and SWAC Coach of the Year, to help the Redskins win the 1987 Super Bowl. After a remarkable career on the gridiron, Jones is now tackling a new challenge: he is currently pursuing a Master’s of Education, Student Affairs at The University of West Alabama, where he is expected to complete the program in Spring 2018.
Jones, a native of Baltimore, Maryland first played college football at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore before transferring to Wichita State University (playing for Willie Jeffries), where he earned several honors as a tight end, including the Ben Hustle Award (1981), and All-Missouri Valley Conference (1983).
Following his graduation from Wichita State University in 1984, the Washington Redskins drafted Jones where he helped Washington win the 1987 Super Bowl. The San Diego Chargers picked Jones up during the 1988 season, but Jones was forced to retire after the 1989 season due to complications of a knee injury.
Jones completed his first season serving as Head Coach for Elizabeth City State University, where he led his team to a 1-7 overall record. After a 19-10 victory over Central State University, the Vikings struggled to find their footing on offense. The team concluded the season eleventh in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in total offense averaging 13.5 points per game and tied for eleventh in the conference in total defense gifting 36.6 points per game.
In 1991, Jones joined the staff at Western Maryland College in Westminster, Maryland, where he served as the receivers/tight ends coach. Jones moved to South Carolina State University (SCSU) in 1992, where he joined his mentor, Jeffries, as a defensive assistant. In 1993, Coach Jeffries promoted Coach Jones to offensive coordinator at SCSU. In 1994, SCSU won the MEAC title and earned the Black College National Championship following a win over Grambling at the Heritage Bowl.
In 1998, Jones joined Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spent four years. Serving as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in his first year with the Maroon Tigers, he was promoted to head coach in 1999. After going 2-8 in his first season, Jones led the Tigers to the first back-to-back eight-win seasons in school history. He was named SIAC Coach of the year both times. The 2000 campaign (8-3) qualified him and the Tigers as the second most improved team in NCAA Division II.
Jones then joined Alabama A&M University, serving 12 years as the head football coach and finishing as the second-winningest coach in school history. In 2006, he led the Bulldogs to their first and only SWAC title in football and tied the school record, which he set with nine victories the previous year. The Bulldogs posted back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2005 and 2006. The 2006 SWAC Coach of the Year led A&M to five Eastern Division title games and finished his tenure at the university with a record of 83 wins and 57 losses.
His .592 winning percentage is the highest since A&M went to Division I. Jones led the A&M Bulldogs to six-game winning streaks five times during his tenure at A&M and never had back-to-back losing seasons. His teams have always been ranked amongst the best at HBCUs in regards to Academic Progress Rate (APR) and ranked as a leader in the number of student-athletes to graduate. Following the second consecutive eight-win season (8-2), Jones was one of three finalists for the 2001 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. He was a finalist again in 2002, his inaugural season at A&M when he became just the second coach in the university’s history to win the Magic City Classic and Homecoming in his first year as head coach.
Off the field, Jones directed his TV/radio show at A&M for six years. He also conducted fundraising projects to continue the show and managed a golf tournament in his name to assist in fundraising for the football program. Jones served in the Minority NFL Coaches Program on three separate occasions; once with the Washington Redskins and twice with the San Diego Chargers. He is also a graduate of the NCAA Minority Coaches Academy. Also, Jones has served on several NCAA committees and was instrumental in initiating the Louis Crews Football Classic at Alabama A&M University.
In 2014 and 2015, Jones served two seasons as the offensive coordinator, quarterback coach, and academic liaison at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. There he helped the team double the number of wins from the prior season and helped improve the team’s (APR).
Jones and his wife, Valerie, have two sons, Drew and Julian (deceased).