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Head football coach Joey Jones resigns

The+team+celebrates+their+belt+win.+Photo+courtesy+of+Brad+Puckett+of+USAJaguars.
The team celebrates their belt win. Photo courtesy of Brad Puckett of USAJaguars.

The team celebrates their belt win. Photo courtesy of Brad Puckett of USAJaguars.

The team celebrates their belt win. Photo courtesy of Brad Puckett of USAJaguars.

Brian Fremund, Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications

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University of South Alabama Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann announced Monday that head football coach Joey Jones has submitted his resignation effective at the end of his current employment contract.

Jones will coach the Jaguars when they visit New Mexico State on Saturday, Dec. 2.

“Joey Jones is the father of our football program.  He, his wife Elise and his entire family put their arms around the program and committed to its establishment and growth,” said Erdmann.  “He has placed South Alabama Football on strong footing, which is something he and his family can be very proud of and we sincerely appreciate.  His good, hard work and commitment will forever be recognized.”

“There comes a time in every program where there is a need for change.  For this program that I love so much, that time is now,” Jones said.  “One of the proudest days of my professional life was being the named the first head coach at South Alabama.  Today is difficult, but it is the right step for me, my family and for this football program.”

The announcement of the formation of Jaguar Football was made on Dec. 6, 2007, and Jones was hired as the program’s first head coach just over two months later on Feb. 15.  He and his initial staff worked from various points on campus until the completion of the football field house prior to the team’s first-ever fall camp in the summer of 2009.

Jones led South to wins in each of its first 19 contests, which including posting a 7-0 mark in the program’s inaugural season and a 10-0 record the following fall.  He guided the Jags through the transition to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and competition in the Sun Belt Conference, and after being picked to finish seventh out of eight teams prior to the start of the 2013 campaign he was chosen the league’s Coach of the Year for directing the Jaguars to a tie for third in the final standings (one game behind that year’s co-champions).

In addition to helping USA to a winning conference record the following season, Jones was responsible for guiding the program to its first two postseason bowl appearances — the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in 2014 and NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl a year ago — as well as the Jaguars’ first-ever victories over a Southeastern Conference school and nationally-ranked opponent.  And, his efforts helped the Jags defeat rival Troy in three out of the last four seasons.

Jones, 55, has a record of 52-49 in eight-plus seasons leading South.

Individually, Gerald Everett became the Jags’ first-ever National Football League draft selection in April and is in his first season with the Los Angeles Rams.  Other program highlights under Jones include:

• 3 individuals selected to participate at the NFL Scouting Combine

• 4 members of the program voted CoSIDA Academic All-District (highlighted by Trey Clark being selected the Jaguars’ first-ever Academic All-American)

• 5 players invited to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl

• 6 alumni currently active in the NFL and Canadian Football League

• 24 former student-athletes received an opportunity to compete at the professional level

• 43 times individuals earned all-Sun Belt recognition on the field over the last five years

• 54 times an individual has been named to the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List

• 92 times student-athletes have made the league’s Academic Honor Roll

“We have always put a highly competitive product on the field,” said Jones.  “Starting a program from scratch is not easy, we have scratched and clawed to build a program of which this University and this city can be proud.  We have put in place a great foundation and I am comforted knowing that we will hand over an extremely healthy program to the next head coach.  He will inherit a group of great student-athletes poised for special things — young men who will perform on the field and in the classroom.

“I have met with my team and my coaches to announce my decision,” he added.  “I will assist the University in every way possible as they look for the next head coach.  I made my decision now to ensure that Joel and his team would have time to conduct their search prior to the new early signing date.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to start and lead this program.  I will always hold a special place in my heart for the University of South Alabama, the incredible coaches, administrators and fans who have supported us along the way, and — most importantly — each and every player who has put on the Jaguar uniform.”

Jones was named to Alabama’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s, earning a degree from the school in business administration in 1989.  He led Dora (Ala.) High School to a 24-11 mark in his first head coaching stint from 1991-93, then guided Mountain Brook (Ala.) High to a 101-27 mark during a 10-year tenure at the school.  Prior to taking the job at South, he restarted the program at Birmingham-Southern.

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Head football coach Joey Jones resigns