If you’re taking a backwards glance through the annals of Georgia high school football history, there are few lineages as legendary as the Jones family. So, it is an apt homecoming for Matt Jones, McEachern alumnus, to have accepted the position of varsity head football coach at North Cobb Christian School.
Jones, who holds an impressive career record of 30-16 as offensive coordinator at 6A Lanier High School since 2017, will begin coaching spring football practices for the NCCS Eagles next week. And yes, his family tree reads like a Who’s Who of Georgia high school football. His father, Steve Jones, served as a Cobb County coach and educator for 39 years, ending his career with a 10-year stint as Cobb County Athletic Director and landing a spot in the Georgia Athletic Director’s Association Hall of Fame. Matt Jones’s uncle, Tom Jones, had a 28-year coaching career at Brookwood High School, and his cousins, Phillip and Tommy, are currently the head coaches of Brookwood and Cherokee Bluff, respectively. So to say football is in Matt Jones’s blood is literal truth.
Before coaching at Lanier, Jones served as assistant football coach at Buford High School, during which time the team won the state championship (2014) and landed runner-up twice (2015, 2016). Prior to that, he was assistant football coach at Pope High School, helping lead the team to a region championship (2011). Before Pope, Jones was assistant football and baseball coach at Lumpkin County High School from 2006-2010.
Jones, himself, was a McEachern High School football standout and a walk-on at The University of Georgia as punt snapper during Mark Richt’s first year with the Dawgs, rubbing elbow (pads) with David Greene and David Pollack.
In addition to his strong winning records, Jones’s merits include being named the Tally Johnson Assistant Coach of the Year for Gwinnett (2019) and earning the ranking of Top 10 Offense in 6A football (2019). Jones says that his greatest achievement, however, is his success at developing players to continue their career at the collegiate level. While at Lanier, he coached 15 offensive players to earn college scholarships to Texas A&M, Louisiana State University, Mercer, Temple, Catawba, Mississippi Valley State and more.
“I love to develop players, to watch them come in as ninth graders and grow into great players and, even more so, great people,” says Jones. “Development starts with the intangibles -- faith, character, integrity, loyalty, leadership. Nothing develops character better than football. Once that intangible team culture has been established, then success comes through development on the field. Fundamentals are key -- footwork, technique, mastering how to play the game. When you combine the intangibles of culture with what I call ‘the controllables’ of technique, players take off.”
To Jones, football is more than a game -- it’s an art. “I tell my players to take pride in every play you make. Be an artist about how you do it,” he says. “Take pride in the little things, like your footwork. Footwork may be the difference that earns one student a scholarship over another student with the same physical build.”
This level of discipline breeds toughness, Jones adds. “The toughness young men learn through playing football is an invaluable life skill,” he asserts. “The best thing for young men is to push themselves to do things that are not easy for the sake of their fellow teammates. Learning that ‘we’ is more important than ‘me’ is powerful.”
This team-first philosophy is a familiar tenet for North Cobb Christian School’s “brotherhood,” as the football program has come to be known. “The family culture and Christian foundation at NCCS is what I am most excited about,” shares Jones, who grew up as a Cobb County native attending Burnt Hickory Baptist Church. “I wouldn’t have accepted this role if I didn’t see a really special quality about this program and this school. I have been blown away by the integrity and sense of purpose of the leadership at NCCS. I look forward to pouring into these players, living out my faith, teaching fundamentals, and creating a team culture where the byproduct is winning. Football to me is a family profession, but it’s also a calling from God. I’m excited to step into this next chapter.”
MEET COACH MATT JONES
Coach Jones will be on campus for a meeting with all rising 9th- through 12th-grade NCCS football parents and players in the gym on Monday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m., following spring football practice.
He will begin coaching spring football practices at NCCS for rising 9th through 12th players next week, as well.
Coach Jones will be relocating to Cobb County from Flowery Branch, Georgia, with his wife, Jamie Fitzpatrick Jones -- who is a softball Hall of Fame inductee for Kent State University -- and their four children, ages 1, 3, 5 and 7. They plan to enroll their older three at NCCS in the fall. Join us in welcoming the Jones family to NCCS!