Joey Jones is the only coach the South Alabama Jags have ever had. But after this season, he'll be moving on. In an announcement today, Joey Jones said this:
"There comes a time in every program where there is a need for change. For this program that I love so much, that time is now. One of the proudest days of my professional life was being named the first head coach at South Alabama. Today is difficult, but it is the right step for me, my family and for this football program."
The announcement comes following a brutal weekend for Jags football, in which the team lost 52-0 to a previously winless Georgia Southern team. The Jags had never been shutout before, and they've still never beaten Georgia Southern.
There's no doubt a different result was expected.
On the Jags football pre-game show, which aired on 96.1 The Rocket, Pat Greenwood said he'd be surprised if the Jags didn't win by 30 or more.
The Jags will close out their schedule with a game at New Mexico State. It will be the last game Joey Jones coaches for the team he started. Jags fans are understandably quite sad, because Joey is part of the Jags family. But as a fan, I also know it's time for a new direction, a fresh approach.
Joey Jones was our head coach for nine years, and he was the right person for the tough task of starting a program from scratch and leading the Jags to their first two bowl games in program history. As fans, we got to wear our "Still Undefeated" shirts for far longer than we ever expected. Those were the shirts we started wearing two years before the team ever played a game, as a joke... and yet, we were still wearing them as the team remained undefeated to begin its third season.
Joey Jones was a great player for Alabama, but he's a legend for South Alabama. He has earned our thanks, and our undying respect. South's football program doesn't really have a "ring of honor" yet, or some special way to honor the program's biggest stars. But that will happen, and Joey deserves to be among the first recognized.
[Photo/Thumbnail Image: Scott Donaldson via Twitter]