By John Balch
The Murfreesboro Rattler football program is now in the market for a new head coach following last week’s resignation of coach and athletic director, Jeff Jones.
Jones’ resignation was accepted during the April 11 meeting of the South Pike County School Board held on the Delight campus. In a brief letter, Jones said he and his wife, Michelle, will be relocating to Alma where their son, Zach, coaches.
Jones was first hired to head up the Rattler football program in February 2010 when he replaced Jay Turley, who left to become the head coach at Hope High School. Jones coached for one season and led the Rattlers to a 6-4 record and into the first round of the state 2A football playoffs before quitting in 2011 to become a principal at Wickes High School. Wickes consolidated with Van-Cove in 2010 to form the Cossatot River School District, which also includes the Umpire School District.
Jones returned to Murfreesboro in 2012 to replace the coach who replaced him in 2011, Paul David Willis. Jones’ final season at Murfreesboro saw the Rattlers finish as co-champions of District 7-2A, make the second round of the state playoffs and finish the season with an 8-4 record.
Jones, a 1977 graduate of Dierks High School where he also coached from 1988 to 1989, came to Murfreesboro from Springdale High School where he served as defensive coordinator. He also worked as head coach at Lonoke High School from 2006 to 2009; defensive coordinator at Alma for the 2005-2006 season; and was assistant coach at De Queen from 1991 to 1996 before landing the head coach job for the Leopards which he held until 2003. Jones also did an assistant coach stint at Gurdon from 1989 to 1991 where he coached the boys’ basketball team.
Superintendent Roger Featherston said the school board will take applications for the head coaching and AD job for a few weeks and then the board will interview two current Rattler coaches along with the top applicants.