Joey Jones came to the University of South Alabama in February of 2008 with hopes of making history as the head coach of a program starting from scratch. Following the Jaguars’ first-ever bowl appearance last fall — the quickest an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision program has accomplished the feat — he is well on his way to achieving that goal.
Formerly the head coach at Birmingham-Southern and a native of Mobile, Jones was named as South Alabama’s first head football coach on February 15, 2008, culminating a month-long search.
Jones is no stranger to building programs from the ground up at both the high school and collegiate level. He returned to his hometown after two years at Birmingham-Southern, where he was hired in 2006 to restart the school’s football program there. After spending a year overseeing administrative aspects of the program such as hiring assistant coaches, designing facilities and recruiting players for the Division III program, he led his 2007 squad of 126 freshmen to a 3-7 overall record, including a pair of wins over established junior-college programs.
Success has followed Jones throughout his career, both as a coach and as a player. Before moving into the college ranks, he compiled an impressive 125-38 (76.7%) record in 13 years at the high-school level, including a 10-year run at Birmingham’s Mountain Brook High, where he was 101-27 (78.9%) from 1996-05.
Jones began his head coaching career at Dora High School, where he registered a 24-11 (68.6%) mark in three seasons (1991-93). It took just one year for him to lead the Bulldogs to postseason action, as they won a first round state 5A playoff contest before falling in overtime in 1992, while his efforts took the school to the quarterfinals the next season. From 1989-90, he served on the Briarwood Christian staff, helping the school to a berth in the quarterfinals of the state 3A playoffs his final year.
A 1989 graduate of Alabama with a degree in business administration, Jones became one of the most beloved Crimson Tide players during his tenure, which began under the tutelage of legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. In Jones’ four seasons in Tuscaloosa, the Tide compiled a record of 35-12-1 (74%), including two Cotton Bowl appearances. He finished his career with 71 receptions, 1,386 yards and 15 touchdowns, ranking fourth on the career touchdown receptions chart and seventh in career receiving yards. As a junior in 1982, Jones had eight TD receptions, which ranks tied for third in UA single-season record book.
Jones earned all-Southeastern Conference honors as a senior after hauling in 31 receptions for 468 yards and five scores. He was later selected to Alabama’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s and played professionally with the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
In April 2011, Jones — who prepped locally at Murphy High School — was inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.