Jones steps down as Cougar football head coach


As the whirlwind of changes continues in the Pulaski County coaching scene, The Southwest Times was made aware this morning that Todd Jones would no longer be the head coach of the Cougar football team.


Jones gathered his team together early today to inform them of the decision prior to releasing the information to the general public.  An official press release was sent out prior to noon today, announcing that the head football coach position would be vacant and posted immediately on the school systems website.

Jones graduated from Pulaski County High School as a member of the Class of 1990.  He went on to attend Emory and Henry College, where he graduated in 1994.

He took a job as an assistant football coach at Essex High School, and in a short time was named the head coach of that program.  He led the Trojans for 13 years, putting together an incredible 135-34 record that included nine district titles, five region titles, three state championship appearances, and finally state championship in 2009.  That season ended with a 14-0 record, capped off with the 30-0 win over the Radford Bobcats in the title game.

Jones came back to Pulaski County in the middle of a bad time.  The Cougars had just been sanctioned by the VHSL for out of season practice violations, and a part of those sanctions resulted in the loss of practice and scrimmage time leading into the season.

His first season as head coach may be remembered as one of his fondest, as the Cougars finished the season on a three game winning streak, earned a 5-5 record, and came from behind to beat Salem in a 21-13 shocker at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium.

Expectations were high after that season, but the 2011 season was a disappointing one.  Pulaski County finished the regular season with a 1-9 record, only to somehow make the playoffs and lose to Salem in the first round.

The 2012 season showed a little more promise, with the Cougars ending the regular season with a 5-5 record and then soundly thumping Magna Vista in the first round of the playoffs 32-0.  A tough 14-17 loss to the Salem Spartans the following week ended the season for Pulaski County.

The 2013 season found Pulaski trying to answer questions again, but by the end of the season they were back in the playoffs with a 4-6 regular season record.  A long road trip to Courtland revisited one of the tougher losses in the history of the program, and in the end the Cougars fell 0-15.

Todd Jones ends his time as head coach at Pulaski County with an overall record of 16-28.

The big question now will be “who will take over?”

An announcement is expected in the early parts of next week that will at least temporarily address that very question, and as usual rumors have already begun to fly about who could possibly take that monster on.  If things go as they have been the past few months, we can fully expect the administration and school board to look for someone who can have an immediate impact.



24 Responses to Jones steps down as Cougar football head coach

  1. Anonymous

    March 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Jones once said he wasn’t trying to make football players … He was looking for the ones that wanted to play…. ha.. If you played for Hicks… you became a ball player or you didn’t play… give the football team back their 4th block lifting and it doesn’t have to be Joel Hicks… but they need a coach with that mentality… lift hard.. practice harder… play like it’s the last game you’ll ever play…

    • to anonymous

      March 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      come on man….you’re gonna blame Jones?? you obviously didn’t have any talent or desire in that area…Jones gave his best for four years and they didn’t have the athletes that fit his system…

    • Austin Safewright

      March 21, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      To the recent post: Look, you do not know Coach Jones like I do. If you did, you would know that he likes to include everybody in a football game. I am not the best football player, and I am not the worst, but Coach Jones would always find a spot for me. You haven’t seen us in the weight room. You will find the hardest working players there are. You have not seen us practice. If you did, yet again, you will find the hardest working players there are. In the summer time after school has let out for summer break, we practice 5 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, and when school starts back up, 3 hours, Monday through Thursday. If you don’t know what your talking about, please do not speak your mind.
      – Austin Safewright #44

      • the truth

        March 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

        Kudos to you young man. I certainly admire you speaking up for what you perceive to be a good coach but you have a lot to learn about the game of football. I do not know if your time at PC is now over but I can assure you as a old timer and long time follower of PC football that you have been exposed to “mediocre” coaching at best and NOT just from Jones and that has certainly been obvious to most. Just because you may have practiced all those hours you say they were obviously not very “productive” hours as was evident by the lack of being competitive since Jones was at PC. I think the fact that you state you and your team mates practiced 5 hours a day and yet did not have a win against a team with a winning record this year in what was arguably the weakest schedule PC has played in many many years speaks volume. At some point people have to realize we can not have it both ways. It is either poor coaching or we have players/kids that are simply not very good. I choose to believe it is the first option and I believe there are good athletes and kids at PC. And that is my opinion. I certainly hope they find the right fit for PC and that we can gain back some of the respectability and competitiveness we have lost since Jones arrived.

        • Jennifer

          March 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

          Since “The Truth” seems to know everything, then I expect to see Coach “The Truth” on the sidelines as head coach this fall. Your posts through this whole season have been rather annoying, this one shows you have absolutely no class to talk down to a child that looks up to his coach and respects him. I understand these last few seasons have not been ideal but this young man does not need your comments. Plus he was willing to put his name out there…something you haven’t been able to do all season!

          • the truth

            March 24, 2014 at 8:31 pm

            Well Jennifer you obviously can not read or comprehend simple English, not sure which it is. I was not talking down to any “child” as you put it nor do I need to mince words with a “child”. If you take your time and read REAL SLOW you will see I commended the young man for saying what he said as I am sure he feels just that way but as I said he has a lot to learn and anything after that in which I spoke about Jones was what I feel and know and is my opinion. It is also factually based and anything I have stated or posted in the past or present has been based on facts not make believe or fairy tales so if you do not like my opinion(s) past or present I really could care less to be honest. As far as me being on the sidelines this fall would love nothing more but I’m simply to old for that anymore but I can assure you I have coached many years of junior high and high school football in Virginia and North Carolina and I know what it takes to be competitive and win and did so with far less talent than Jones had at Essex or PC without a doubt. So in the future Jennifer before you try and confront someone for stating their opinion make sure you know what you are talking about.

        • concerned

          March 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

          How would you know? How many practices did you attend? The kid has his opinion and you have yours – your comment had no purpose other than to find one more way to bash Coach Jones and was an inappropriate response to a student-athlete’s post. Its what people would call – passive-aggressive or a back handed compliment such as I commend you for your comment but your just a kid who doesn’t know anything.

          All those years coaching JV ball in NC & VA have must have gone to your head. I would have loved to see the message boards about your coaching acumen. Oh, they didn’t have those when you were coaching, let me rephrase, I would love to see the slate tablet boards about your coaching prowess.

          Bottom line, doesn’t matter who gets the job they will be subject to bashing. People bashed Hicks, they bashed Turner, they bashed Jones. Whose next, you? You are retired, you have the time, you know it all, age isn’t nothing but a number, apply. PLEASE apply, the community needs you, we beg you, be the savior of PC football.

          What a joke.

  2. Anonymous

    March 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    To be honest all we need is not to be lifting befte a game and tiering ourselfs out what we need id structure within the county and i believe with more things that jones wanted to provide would had led to that do i believe the school system is wrong in thos madder of desicion yes completly hopefully the team will continue to be strong and only to make everyone in the county proud

    • Lola

      March 24, 2014 at 9:08 am

      I certainly believe, based on your post, that your first priority should be English, not sports.

  3. Coach Johnny

    March 21, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I am a retired high school coach. Here is what I know..
    1. It’s true that the best teams to coach are prison teams and orphans.
    2.. No high school coach got into coaching because their goal was to deal with parents.
    3. “Politics” means a parent is not happy because their kid isn’t playing enough. Ask the parent of a starter why their kid starts and you will never hear that parent reply “politics”.
    4. Parents who know than the coach should quit their job and go into teaching and coaching..
    5. I watched my wife give birth to our child but that doesn’t mean I know anything about giving birth. Yet today moms know what it’s like to be a male playing football, wrestling,baseball or basketball.
    6. Your child’s success or failure is theirs. It is not yours. Cut the umbilical cord after 16-18 years and let your child figure out their own life.
    7. I tried to raise my child so they wouldn’t need me. She left home and was living alone in NYC at 19. . The good thing is she doesn’t need me and the bad thing is she doesn’t need. How many people in their 20’s and 30’s still live with mommie and daddy? Send your kids to school and let them learn how to deal with adults instead of letting them watch you solve their problems..
    8. Lastly it’s your kids life and experience. You had yours. Let them have theirs.

  4. Anonymous

    March 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Very interested to find out who Pulaski County hires. Any ideas on possible coaches that would apply?

  5. Essex

    March 22, 2014 at 1:07 am

    I don’t know what he was like at Pulaski, but Essex he was the most dedicated, hard working coach anybody could ask for. He made everybody that played for him not only a better football player, but a better player. Good luck Coach Jones in whatever it is you decide to do!

    • the truth

      March 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Then you/they should hire him back as head coach. Oh wait they don’t want him back since Essex seems to be doing just fine without him.

  6. Anonymous

    March 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Coach Landreth sounds like the perfect candidate!

    • Anonymous

      March 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Sounds good to me….but will the school work with him!

    • no name

      March 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Sounds good to me….but will the school work with him!

  7. jcfollower

    March 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    High school athletics have gone the way of pro and college. The Almighty dollar reigns and nobody cares if the coach impacted players positively, helped them get their grades up, or taught them discipline, integrity, and character. If you don’t win and bring people in the stands, you are gone. No freaking wonder nobody wants to coach anymore, people are running away from public education, and kids are all screwed up about what is REALLY important.

    School Boards. You want real coaching with real results??? Train your coached using “3D Coaches”. Look it up online.

  8. jv football player

    March 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    If Coach Jones had to go, then Coach Lewis needs to follow. All he did was yell at us during practice, weight lifting and the game. There was no rhyme or reason for most of it. He may have won at Dublin with a lot of talent, but in our eyes, the high school game is too advance for him. I hope the administration can find us a new varsity and JV coach. Our high school years go fast and times awasting.

  9. Ned

    March 22, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Dear Austin, with all that liftin’ and all that practicin’ why was the team so bad…? COACHING!

  10. Neutral person on outside looking in

    March 23, 2014 at 3:55 am

    I hear a lot of excuses and defense of this coach. The fact is politics is not necessary a mom or dad knowing the game of football or reasons why it functions, But word does get around about the different types of influence it takes to get a player on the field. Call it what you want but monetary persuasion should have no place in a young man or women’s success or failure. The fact is it does. Its called money does wonders. Go Figure. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see what makes things go or plays work or team progress. Parents have to sacrifice with the athletes. Don’t act like they are un qualified to see what is going on. Politics describes foul play, things being done by the wrong influence, etc. Get a coach who will play the best athlete for the position. Try it, it works.


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