The David Jones era is set to officially begin on Miner Mountain. Former University of Kentucky, Belfry and Matewan standout David Jones was selected to take the reins of the Mingo Central football program on Monday evening.
Jones, who comes to Mingo Central after spending the last four seasons guiding Bourbon County, says that he is excited to come back home to Mingo County.
“I always wanted to come back home and have a place where I could have my career and retire,” stated Jones. “For it to be Mingo Central in Mingo County where I was born and raised, that’s special. Not long ago, Mingo Central was one of the top programs in the state. Whenever the job came open, it was a no-brainer to apply for the job. I just went to work to put together a portfolio and now have this wonderful opportunity.”
Jones has extensive coaching credentials. He spent seven seasons as an assistant under Philip Haywood at Belfry. He then spent three seasons as head coach for the Phelps Hornets. Under Jones, the Hornets went from 1-39 over its four previous seasons to having 4 wins his first season there and then getting 5 wins in both 2017 and 2018.
Jones led Bourbon County to a 13-28 record the past four seasons in what may be the toughest district in 4A in Kentucky with Boyle County and Lexington Catholic. However, Bourbon County shocked the state with a 28-14 win over Holmes in the opening round of the playoffs this past season.
Now, stepping into the role as the head coach for Miners, Jones wants to lean on the tradition of Mingo Central and its communities.
“Being from here, I know the tradition,” Jones said. “I lived through the tradition. My family was part of the tradition. My priority is to get the youth and middle school programs to be the top in the area. These kids need to have that connection. We’re going to be in the middle schools heavily. They’re going to have a coach that supports them on the field and in the classroom.
“Four years ago I wasn’t ready for a job like Mingo Central,” Jones added. “I wasn’t ready to lead a program like Mingo Central. I went in to Bourbon County. No one knew me but I earned their trust. My ultimate goal was to help those kids with opportunities to go to college. I had to go off and learn that and how to navigate through adversity. We played in the toughest district in 4A. We were playing teams like Lexington Catholic and Boyle County with 32 or 33 kids. We were playing with the disadvantage in a lot of things, so battling through that adversity helps me to be better prepared now.”
Jones played his first two years of high school football at Matewan before transferring to Belfry and helping the Pirates win back-to-back state titles and graduating in 2005. From there he went to the University of Kentucky and started as a true freshman under coach Rich Brooks and earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshmen team. One of the highlights of Jones’ career was a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the 2009 Liberty Bowl, which remains the record for the longest kickoff return in Liberty Bowl history.
From there, Jones had a short stint with the Baltimore Ravens. He then played for New York in the UFL and for Spokane, Green Bay and Utah in the Arena Football League.
The Miners have gone 3-7 each of the last two seasons, but Jones has the experience and pedigree to return Mingo Central back to being one of the top programs in West Virginia.