His approach to his newest post — the head coach of the Walker Vikings wrestling team — is no different.
Jones, who was hired after previously coaching at Lynn High School, has seen all three aspects build outstanding teams throughout his tenure with the Bears.
Though the sport of wrestling is viewed through the accomplishments of the individual, Jones stresses that the importance of learning and competing together as a squad will lend to a higher level of achievement.
“In every sport, athletes compete within themselves every day. When it comes to our program, I tell our kids that the team comes first, but it’s about them on the mat,” Jones said. “When we get beat, we lose together as a team. At the same time, when we win, we share that success with each other. It’s been a big focus of ours to get into the team mindset and it’s my belief that we progress well together as a program, that progression will spread to what each wrestler will do individually.”
Another key to success that Jones is intent on building on is support and participation – not only from the student body, but the community as well.
“We’re actively trying to promote not only our team here at Walker, but also the sport of wrestling. To help assist us in this goal, we are allowing our students who wear school colors into the meets for free, so that they can experience the excitement wrestling can bring,” Jones said.
“We’ve also been doing some fundraising and going out into the community to make people more attracted to what we are doing. We’ve had a lot of members of the community who have graciously bought a sign on our mat membership board — which is a great blessing as our kids have been paying for their equipment from their own pockets. It’s that kind of support that is integral for what we’re trying to accomplish as much as the hard work we put forth on the mats.”
Two Viking wrestlers, Cru Birdyshaw and Thomas Mobley have returned this season with significant varsity experience.
Though many of the remaining team members are new to varsity-level competition, several wrestlers are veterans of the Maddox Middle School wrestling program, having extensively studied under Coach Lutis Moore, who also serves as Walker’s co-head coach.
Jones said the guidance that Moore brings to his program has been invaluable as the Maddox wrestlers transition to the high school level.
“Coach Moore has done an absolutely phenomenal job in teaching these young men the fundamentals of the sport and building their mat skills — he’s worked with them for the past four years and because of that, we have good balance,” Jones said. “Our attendance to practices is great — the kids are very energetic about what they’re doing. With that kind of attitude, we can focus on getting better every day and being more competitive as the season progresses.”