Coach Benjamin Franklin Jones, DHS [Decatur high School] coach 1953-57
Coach Benjamin Franklin Jones, Jr., 90, died Saturday, July 25, 2009. He was the DHS coach from '53 to '57.
He was born August 30, 1918 in Tifton, Ga. He was raised in Macon, Ga., where he excelled in athletics throughout high school. At Middle Georgia Junior College, he participated in four sports and was named "Most Valuable Player." He was captain of the basketball and baseball teams. During World War II, he was in the field artillery and served in both Africa and Italy as a Lieutenant. After the war, he managed and played on an army team at Fort Bragg. Jones received a B.A. in Education from the University of North Carolina in 1948 and a Master's Degree in 1951. He was a scholarship recipient for both football and baseball.
His football coaching career began at Cordele High School and continued at Decatur High School where he was named "Coach of the Week" several times by the Atlanta Journal Touchdown Club. Both his football and baseball teams played in state championship games in the 1953-54 season.
After coaching with great success in Georgia high schools, Jones was picked as Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Presbyterian College in South Carolina. His teams won the Little Four Championship in 1958, 1959, and 1960. He was Coach of the Year in South Carolina in 1958 and 1959 and runner-up in 1960. He then went to Mississippi State and served as Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator from 1962 to 1965. The 1963-squad went to the Liberty Bowl and posted their best record since 1946. Frank Jones was head football coach at the University of Richmond from 1966 to 1973 and also served as Director of Athletics for seven years. He was the only coach in UR history to record two eight-win seasons. Frank was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year following the 1967, '68, and '71 league championship seasons. He guided the Spiders to two Tangerine Bowl appearances, the only Division I Top 20 appearance in the University's history. When he joined the Spiders, Richmond had the longest losing streak in the nation. That streak was broken in 1966. The Spiders went to their first bowl game in 1968. The Tangerine Bowl bid came after a perfect 6-0 Southern Conference mark. The 49-42 victory over Ohio University capped the Spiders' best football season in 30 years. He was named Coach of the Year for District Three by the American Football Coaches Association. The City Council of Richmond adopted a resolution praising the "honor and distinction the Tangerine Bowl team and coach brought to the city." In 1973, his last season as Head Coach, the Spiders were ranked in the Top 20 in the nation. Jones coached in the North-South All-Star Game and the Blue-Gray All-Star game. He was named to the University of Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.
Since 1974, he has been President of Frank Jones & Co. Realty. He developed several subdivisions and co-owned The Veranda restaurant in Starkville, Miss. He was a member of the Country Club of Virginia.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jean Butts Jones; his children, Page Jones Allen, Wallace Brady Jones, Franklin Taylor Jones, Jean Jones Hogan, Benjamin Thomas Jones; and 11 grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m. at River Road Presbyterian Church, 8960 River Road, Richmond, Va. 23229. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Frank Jones Scholarship Fund, Presbyterian College Athletic Department, 503 S. Adair St., Clinton, S.C. 29325.
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