You might know coach Quentin Jones as the man always rushing through the hallways in cowboy boots on some unknown mission, or as your biology teacher or the track coach. You might be one of the few students to know him as coach “Jonesy.”
“He’s kind of like a father figure,” said senior Curtis Grady, who has run track and cross country throughout high school. “He’s always there for us to help us succeed, and he’s really approachable and fun to be around.”
In June, Jones will have been at FHS for 14 years, as a teacher of both biology and employment training, and the head coach for cross country, winter, and spring track.
“The best things about [teaching and coaching] kind of go hand-in-hand,” Jones said. “It’s rewarding seeing people grow and develop, to kind of see the lights go on when they start understanding a topic or when they realize they’re physically able to do something.”
Senior Marissa McGinty has been on the track team all four years of high school and looks up to Jones as a coach and leader.
“He makes sure we get things done, but he makes it fun,” McGinty said. “He’s always available. We can always talk to him at the beginning of practice or in between classes when he hangs outside his room, even just to stop by and say, ‘hey.’”
One of his assistant coaches, math teacher Mark Scott, considers Jones a good leader.
“I have a lot of respect for coach Jones,” Scott said. “He allows his coaches to coach, listens when we have suggestions, and offers suggestions or advice as needed.”
While being a coach for all three sports seasons may sound like a challenge, Jones handles it with patience and care.
“Being the head coach especially, there’s just so much going on,” Jones said. “Sometimes it’s hard to coach. You have to coordinate all the buses for students for track meets, parents call you, the weather goes crazy… sometimes I don’t get a chance to say hi to my athletes!”
Despite all the demands on his time, Jones makes it a point to get to know all his athletes and help to train them as much as possible.
“I ran track in high school, although not as fast as some of my athletes now,” Jones said. “But I had a coach that had one assistant, and there were about 60 kids. He would just say, ‘Go run,’ and that was our practice. We’d do a five mile run and that’d be it. It made me realize that I wanted a coach at every position, to really teach the kids the techniques and individually help them improve. Just to hear them say, ‘Oh, I can do this’- that’s why we do it.”
Sometimes, however, getting a student to that point can be hard.
“I don’t want it to sound bad, because coaches had to deal with me [as a young person], too,” Jones said. “Coaching a young person is hard, because their mind is just in a lot of different places. It’s hard to make them see their own potential because they have a lot of different priorities.”
For inspiration, Jones relies on his faith, and tries to encourage students as the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“The church plays a large part in my life,” Jones said. “I was introduced to FCA in high school, and when I came here two older coaches asked me to kind of take over, so that’s how I got into it. It’s nice, because we’re not shoving anything on anyone.”
McGinty, also a member of FCA, marvels at how Jones handles the club in addition to all his other duties.
“He’s very active,” McGinty said. “Between being a teacher, running the track team, and being a dad, he finds time to support us in FCA. He has a lot on his plate, and he balances it really well.”
Although his schedule may groan under the weight of his responsibilities, Jones looks forward to many more years as a teacher and coach.
“It’s hard to say what the best part [of FHS] is,” Jones said. “I have great memories, like winning the state championship, but really everything is great. There’s lot of laughter here, and lots of good people I work with.”
~Fiona McCarthy, staff reporter