Former Canadian Football League bench boss Chris Jones has been hired as the head coach at South Pittsburg High School in Tennessee, per sources.
Jones played his high school football for South Pittsburg prior to walking on at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He started his football coaching career with North Jackson High School in Stevenson, Alabama, leading the team to a state championship in 1993. That led to four different NCAA stops and Jones coming to Canada in 2002.
The Roughriders improved their win total each year under Jones (2016-2018), improving from five wins to 10 and then twelve over three seasons. He led Saskatchewan to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons (2017-2018) after the franchise failed to make the post-season for two consecutive years.
Jones is 53-37 as a head coach in Canada and won the 2015 Grey Cup with the Edmonton Football Team. He also won championships as an assistant coach with the Montreal Alouettes (2002), Calgary Stampeders (2008), and Toronto Argonauts (2012).
Jones was named the CFL’s coach of the year in 2018, but he had an out clause in his contract that allowed him to pursue NFL opportunities. The Cleveland Browns came calling and the coaching lifer left Saskatchewan for Ohio.
The 54-year-old signed a two-year contract with Cleveland in January 2019, joining the team as a defensive assistant. In 2020, the Browns went 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. During the AFC Wild Card Round, Cleveland beat the rival Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 for their first post-season win since 1994.
Despite the team’s success, Jones was not brought back for a third season with the Browns, which led to him accepting the top job at his high school.