After a month-long search, Harris County has its new football head coach.
Jones County head coach Dwight Jones was selected to replace Tommy Parks, who accepted the head coaching position at Upson-Lee in January, Harris County interim superintendent Jeff Branham confirmed Friday.
Jones was selected from a final pool of seven candidates and already has been approved unanimously by the Harris County Board of Education.
Hes got an outstanding record in the schools hes served at in the past, Branham said. I know his work ethic is spotless. The other thing is his commitment to all the sports. Hes one who is committed to the entire athletic program. His dedication to his players and team is unmatched.
Jones elected to return to the area to be closer to his mom, who will be 82 years old in August, as well as the opportunity Harris County provides.
Were coming home to win some football games and so that my mom can watch her grandchildren grow up, Jones said Friday.
Jones is no stranger to the Columbus area, having spent time as a head coach at Russell County (1990-94), Hardaway (1995-2000) and Northside-Columbus (2004-05). In 2005, he coached Northside-Columbus to the only winning season (9-3) in its brief 10-year history.
We started (at Northside) from ground zero, he said. We were lucky enough to make the playoffs our second season.
He also coached Hardaway to four straight winning seasons in 1997-2000, including a 10-win season in 1998. At Russell County, he coached five years, going 21-31 and getting his team to the state playoffs in 1991.
He coached one season at Auburn (Ala.) in 2001, going 8-6. He has spent the past six seasons at Jones County, where he tookover a struggling program coming off a two-win season in 2007 and steadily improved to a seven-win season in 2012.
He is replacing Parks, who put together the best two seasons in program history. The Tigers won eight straight games, advancing to the GHSA Class AAAAA quarterfinals, in 2012 and won nine games in 2013.
Parks coached 10 seasons for the Tigers before accepting his new position in January.
Coach Parks and his staff did a great job at Harris County, Jones said. I cant come in and take his place. I just have to be Dwight Jones. Were going to coach them, love them and make them do what theyre supposed to do. In years past, that has equated to wins.
A lot of what was done in the past at Harris County will continue, Jones said. He runs a 4-3 defense, which is what the Tigers ran under Parks.
Jones will begin work at Harris County beginning Monday. He will commute for the final months of the school year as his children and wife finish their time in Jones County.
The support the people at Harris County have given me so far has been great, Jones said. Were obviously excited. We cant say enough about the support we received in Jones County, either.