South Pittsburg, the 2020 Class 1A Runner up is again turning to one of their own to lead the football program.
Chris Jones, a 1985 South Pittsburg graduate whose coaching career has comprised high school, college football and professional football has been named as the new Pirate boss.
“I would like to welcome coach Chris Jones back to Marion County after many years. I wish him the best of luck with the South Pittsburg program,” Marion County Superintendent of Schools Mark Griffitrh said.
Jones replaces his high school classmate Vic Grider, who retired last month after 30 years at South Pittsburg including 22 seasons as the Pirate head coach.
Grider has a 233-55 overall record in his 22 seasons at South Pittsburg in two different tenures (1997-2012 and 2015-2020).
The Pirates won three Class 1A state titles under Grider (1999, 2007 and 2010) and finished runner up twice in 2011 and 2020.
South Pittsburg won 10 or more games 16 times under Grider’s leadership (1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020).
The Pirates finished 13-2 this season as they were upset by Fayetteville 20-14 to finish as the 1A runner up.
During his first tenure, Grider posted a 162-43 record and the Pirates won three state title with undefeated 15-0 records coming in 1999 and 2007.
Jones, 53, started his coaching career at nearby North Jackson (AL) as an assistant and helped the Chiefs win a state title in 1993.
He then was an graduate assistant at both Tennessee Tech (1995-96) and Alabama (1997) before becoming the defensive line coach at UT-Martin in 1998.
Jones then spent three seasons as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator back at Tennessee Tech (1999-2001).
He then was hired north of the border in the Canadian Football League and coached many positions for five different franchises during a 17-year career (2002-18).
Jones started as the defensive line coach with the Montreal Alouettes in 2002 then was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2003 and served in that capacity until 2007.
He then went to the Calgary Stampeders as their DC for three years (2008-10) and then was promoted to assistant head coach and assistant Director of Player personnel for two years (2010-11).
He then went to the Toronto Argonauts in 2012 before getting his first CFL head coaching job with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2014.
The Eskimos won the Grey Cup in 2015 and Jones won four total Grey Cups the others as an assistant coach in (2002, 2008 and 2012).
Jones then got his second head coaching job in 2016 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and served as the head coach and general manager until 2018 as he had an overall record of 53-37.
Jones was then hired as an assistant on defense with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns the last two seasons.
Currently nine schools in Brainerd, Cumberland Gap, Goodpasture, Hillsboro, KIPP Academy, Maplewood, Northwest, Obion County and Zion Christian are looking for a head coach.
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