By Josh Helmer
By now, you’re probably well aware that Norman North has its next head football coach. At Monday’s board meeting, Justin Jones was approved by Norman Public Schools to take over for the Timberwolves.
Still, you probably would like to know a bit more about Jones. So, let’s get to know the new head man at North and what he can expect in his first days on the job.
Jones comes over from Bishop McGuinness where he and the Irish enjoyed great success
Jones compiled a 68-22 record in his tenure as Bishop McGuinness’ head coach over the past seven seasons, including a pair of trips to the Class 5A state championship game each of the past two seasons. Carl Albert thwarted both of those title game appearances with a 34-29 win in 2016 and 35-23 this past season.
He also led McGuinness to the Class 4A semifinal in 2011 and the 5A semifinal in 2012 and 2015.
Leaving McGuinness was ‘bittersweet’ for Jones
Jones took time to post a series of thoughts on Twitter to the McGuinness community last night after accepting the position at Norman North.
As one door closes another opens! Such a bittersweet day for me. I hope the McGuinness Community will take time to read my thoughts! pic.twitter.com/nBTIMfQrhf
— Coach Jones (@NNCoachJones) April 17, 2018
He opened his note by writing: “Today I had to do one of the toughest things of my career and that is say goodbye to a program that is very near and dear to not only my heart, but also, my wife, son and daughters’ hearts. The past seven years have been some of the best years of my career. We have met so many wonderful people who all invested in the shared vision that we had for the program at Bishop McGuinness. I will forever be indebted to the players, assistant coaches, administration and community of McGuinness. The place is truly a special one where faith and academics are intertwined with athletics and a winning culture!”
He inherits a program that has enjoyed its greatest success recently
No stranger to expectations, Jones now holds the keys to a program that expects to win and win big. The T-Wolves have made two trips to the class 6A state title game in the past six seasons (2012, 2016).
Both of those championship game appearances came with former coach Brent Barnes as an integral part. Barnes was the offensive coordinator for the 2012 run to the title game and, of course, was the head coach when North was undefeated up until a title game loss to Tulsa Union.
Coaching staff turnover and finalizing his staff will be a priority
Jones met with the members of the North coaching staff this morning. He knows he has at least one vacancy to fill immediately. Assistant head coach/offensive line coach Lance Tignor recently accepted the offensive coordinator position at Edmond Santa Fe. Meanwhile, the Norman Transcript’s John McKelvey reported that defensive coordinator Ty Gower is uncertain what his future will hold after spending the past two seasons at North.