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Coach slam dunked
David Jones relieved as BI basketball coach
jones headdown
BI basketball coach David Jones rubs the bridge of his nose during a 2006 game. Assistant coach Pete Woodard is to Jones’ right. - photo by Courier file photo
With more than 615 wins in 35 years David Jones’ Bradwell Institute career has ended.
Tuesday, following an executive session, the Liberty County Board of Education voted to relieve the head basketball coach from those duties for the remainder of the school year.
“It’s been a good run,” Jones said. “I’ve been the head coach for the Tigers for 12 years now and, except for last year where we teetered a little bit, we have not had a losing season to the best of my recollection.”
Jones was told of his termination Wednesday.
“It looks like while we were in Savannah playing a game the school board was taking a vote,” he said.
Board members and representatives would not comment, citing personnel privacy.
Jones feels there was probably more than one factor, but feels it revolves primarily around an incident at a tournament in Atlanta the last weekend of December.
“It’s hard to keep a community happy,” Jones said. “Sometimes you make decisions in the spur of the moment that when you reflect back, it may not have been the smartest move or the best way to handle a situation.”
He said players were showing up late for scheduled events.
“I asked them to be at the hotel lobby and be on the bus at a specific time,” the coach said. “Many of them did not show up on time and I made the unfortunate decision of teaching them a lesson by having the bus leave for the game without them.”
He said he planned to have the bus driver go back to get them. as it was a relatively short distance between the hotel and where they were playing.
“...Before we could send the bus back these players caught a ride with another parent and that was looked at as failure to supervise properly by the board.”
Jones said he knew trouble was coming after the incident and asked the board to allow him to finish the season.
“I would happily resign effective at the end of the season,” Jones said. “Basically allowing me the dignity and respect for the last 12 years to finish the season. However the Board has a job to do and they are the reflection of the community.”
BI Athletic Director Jim Walsh Jr. said Jones will be sorely missed.
“It’s unfortunate to lose a guy like Jones. He has done exceptional work with our kids here. He is always a guy that is fair with the kids, but would also do his best to keep them in check...
“The parents just don’t understand, we truly don’t get Division 1 players here and for him to accomplish what he has is truly amazing. He has over 600 wins, four state titles and knows how to win and make kids succeed. But above all else everything he did was about the kids and that is what you have to admire the most,” he said.
Walsh said assistant coach Pete Woodard will fill in as head coach for the remainder of the season.
Jones said he was happy to see Woodard fill the spot because he knows the kids and is a great mentor and coach.
Jones will finish the year teaching health and PE at Bradwell.
“I don’t need anybody to be worried about it or feel sorry for me because when they look for David Jones he’ll be OK and on the high road,” he said.
He said he’ll probably look for another job.
“I still enjoy coaching and doing what I’ve been doing. I don’t have the personality to sit in front of the TV all day. I don’t hunt and I’m not worth 15 cents at golf. Basketball is and has been my life.
“I like to think that I’ve positively influenced some kids throughout my career and I’ll just keep my head up and keep moving. I’ve made some mistakes in my life but I’ve done a lot of positive things too.”

School Board vote
Interim School Superintendent Harley Grove said he recommended relieving Jones. Board Chairwoman Lily Baker made the motion, which was seconded by Charlie Frasier. There were five “yes” votes; Mattie Hicks voted “no” and Vice Chairwoman Carol Guyett abstained.
Bradwell Principal Vicki Albritton said she would not comment on the matter as it related to personnel issues.

Joe Parker, Jr. contributed to this report.
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