12 Podcasts of Christmas: Rick Jones (12/20/17)

By Keith Grabowski | Posted 12/20/2017

(Photo via insidefortsmith.com)

To close out 2017, USA Football is re-publishing the 12 best podcasts of the year. Here is No. 12. Look for Nos. 11 through 1 in the coming days.

Rick Jones has 39 years of coaching experience, both at high school and collegiate levels. His overall coaching record is 282-71 and he has won seven state championships in his career. He is a 14-time Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Oklahoma High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2016, he was awarded Positive Coaching Alliance’s National Double Goal Coaching Award and in the following year he received the United States Marine Corp Semper Fidelis Coaching Award.

He's speaking at the 2018 National Conference at Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida, on "Building a Program from the Ground Up" from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26 at the conference.

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As I reflect on the numerous interviews with high school coaches, I am reminded of all the amazing head coaches I have been able to connect with. And while I have many that could be placed in my favorites of 2017, one that stood out in my mind was an early interview with Rick Jones from Greenwood High School in Arkansas.  Rick just won his eighth state championship in 2017, and after speaking with him, it’s no surprise he brought his team to that level because he 100 percent makes what happens in his program about relationships.  

The comment that resonated most in his conversation was, “If our purpose in high school football is not to change the lives of young men through the game of football, the, oh my goodness, we have wasted a lot of time.”

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His passion and love the game were evident in speaking with him on the podcast. His perspective really pulled together the thoughts of many great coaches interviewed on this podcast. Clearly, he understands the true purpose of a coach.

This is reflected in his philosophy, which he explains was borne out of a desire to do it the right way, and much different than the way in which he was coached. He wanted the focus solely on making it a great experience for the player. When you hear about the detail he shares in this regard on the podcast, you will have to go back and take notes for yourself.

With that being said, Rick solely does not hang his hat on building culture. He has a hunger for the game and in learning. In early spring, I was consulting with Lincoln Christian in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had just sat down with the staff, and Rick Jones walked through the door and sat down at the table with a notebook. He told me, “I heard you were going to be here.” I was blown away that a coach of this caliber would drive three hours to listen to me on a Saturday afternoon. Though he is so knowledgable about the game, he hungers for more.

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The advice he shares throughout the interview will be useful to coaches on every level.  Before you listen to this podcast, or listen again, I encourage you to have a pad of paper handy, because there is much to learn from Coach Rick Jones.

Follow Coach Jones on Twitter: @GWFBcoach

Subscribe to the USA Football Coach and Coordinator podcast on iTunes.  

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