Jones preaches rebirth at Alcorn|[12/12/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2007

JACKSON — Seeking to bring new life to the Alcorn State University football program, the Braves turned to a fellow Alcornite.

Ernest T. Jones, the running backs coach at the University of Cincinnati, was introduced as Alcorn State’s new head football coach Tuesday at a news conference at the Marriott Hotel.

“Today is truly a homecoming and I can promise you this program will be coached by men of intergity. We will be fundamentally sound. We’ll play with discipline. We’ll play fast, physical for all four quarters. It will be a team that will keep pressure on you all day long,” Jones told an enthusiastic audience of Braves’ supporters, who clapped or shouted their approval after each of his statements.

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Jones, who spoke more like a preacher than a football coach, played wide receiver on two of Alcorn’s Southwestern Athletic Conference championship teams in 1993 and 1994. He replaces Dr. Johnny Thomas, who was fired after going 2-8 last season.

Vicksburg High coach Alonzo Stevens was the offensive line coach at Alcorn when Jones played, and he feels this is a good hire for his alma mater.

“What all Alcornites need now is get behind EJ,” Stevens said in referring to Jones by his nickname. “I’m very proud of him. He was a very smart player and he came to us after starting at Hinds at wide receiver.

“He was what we wanted in our student athletes — smart, and hard working.”

Jones hopes to bring that same type of player to Lorman.

“We want to raise the bar. And we can do that by bringing in RKG’s — the right kind of guy. These are the types of players that can compete for championships,” Jones said.

This is Jones’ first head coaching job at any level. But he’s built his reputation as a strong recruiter at each of his five stops during a seven-year career.

One of the key things Alcorn State interim President Dr. Malvin Williams noticed about Jones was that he was a part of winning programs everywhere he went.

“He brings a fresh new look to the football program. He’s an Alcornite, he’s a winner and he has personal character. Add those three things together and you have Ernest Jones,” Williams said.

Cincinnati is 9-3 and ranked No. 21 in the nation. They will face Southern Miss on Dec. 22 at the Bowl in Birmingham.

“I would like to participate in that bowl game, so that I can finish what I started. I want to bring a third bowl win to Alcorn,” Jones said.