Fred Jones, announced by Athletic Director Tim Buchanan as the new AHS head boys basketball coach early last week, comes to the Aledo from Lewisville ISD with impressive credentials.
He recorded a 103-35 overall record as head girls basketball coach at Flower Mound Marcus High School from 2011-2015, guiding the Lady Marauders to the Class 5A Region 1 semifinals in 2013 and the program’s first-ever undefeated district championship in 2014.
He also earned District 5-5A Coach of the Year honors in 2014 after leading Marcus to the Regional Quarterfinals and a 29-3 overall record.
As a varsity boys assistant basketball coach at Marcus from 2007-2011, Jones helped guide the program to back-to-back 5A State Championships in 2011 and 2012. Marcus was a state semifinalist team in 2010.
Prior to his stop in the LISD, Jones was an assistant boys basketball and football coach at La Marque High School for the 2006 academic year. La Marque won the 2006 4A state football championship with Jones on the sidelines.
In addition, the new head coach has received two “Teacher of the Year” Awards for excellence in the classroom.
“I believe that Coach Fred Jones will bring his state championship experience to Aledo and raise the boys’ basketball program to the next level,” Buchanan said.
A difficult season
Jones arrival at AISD, however, is somewhat clouded by a challenging 2015 season where forfeitures caused by an ineligible player dropped the Lady Marauders out of the district race.
The district hired Jones based on the recommendation of an interview committee made up of Buchanan, Aledo High School Principal Dan Peterson, Daniel Ninth Grade Principal Angela Tims and Daniel Ninth Grade Head Girls Basketball Coach Mike Pinkerton, Superintendent Derek Citty said.
Citty said he was aware of the 11-game forfeiture imposed by the UIL for allowing a player with a failing grade out on the court, but doesn’t hold Jones responsible for the violations.
UIL rules stipulate that players must be passing all courses with a minimum grade of 70, with the exception of identified advanced classes.
“Coaches do grade checks at the three and six-week marks,” Citty said, “and the child appeared to be eligible from the grade reports. When he discovered she was ineligible — after several games — he immediately reported it to the athletic director, who reported to the UIL Committee, which declared all those games to be forfeit.”
According to a Lewisville ISD press release reprinted in the Dallas Morning News, Marcus High School officials told the girls and their parents that most of their games would be forfeited due to an ineligible player on Jan. 24, after an investigation by the district’s athletic department.
The team was in third place in district standings at the time, according to the release, but had to drop out of the district race.
An executive board member of the Lady Marauders Booster Club, who asked to remain anonymous, said the issue appeared to be “administrative — an inadvertent oversight.”
The ineligible player was moved up during the season, she said, and played in several winning games. Every game she participated in, or even rode the bus to, she said, had to be forfeited according to UIL rules.
“So most of our games moved from the win to the loss column,” she said. “A great season was blown away.”
Jones holds himself accountable for the situation, calling it an opportunity to grow as a coach.
“I don’t want to point the finger,” he said. “I think a lot of people are responsible; there are always many factors involved. The hardest part was communicating with the kids and seeing the kids impacted.”
A sign in the Marauders’ locker room states that people have a choice when they face adversity, Jones said, to get better or to get bitter.
“That and our mission statement helped us get through the season when we knew we didn’t have a chance,” he said, “and we beat two playoff teams in the last four games.”
The mission statement — Our goal is for every high school student to have a positive basketball experience and for them to grow as young people in character — has been a guiding principle since he and his staff created it two years ago, Jones said.
His decision to leave LISD wasn’t forced, Jones said.
“I left to get back into having a boys’ team,” he said. “Prior to that year, my family and I had already discussed it.”
Jones earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in 1998 where he lettered on the Red Raiders’ basketball team. He came to Texas Tech after earning Junior College All-America honors at Temple College.
He and his wife, Latisha, of 19 years, have three daughters, Vanessa, who is currently playing basketball at San Jacinto College, Alexus and Mackenzie.
Aledo’s community — tight-knit with a love of athletics — attracted Jones, he said, who believes those qualities will provide opportunities for his kids.
The pieces are there for boys’ basketball, he said, and the athletic program is accomplished.
“Our motto is going to be ‘One Team’ and we’re going to be touching base with coaches at the middle school and elementary schools,” he said. “Programs are built at the younger levels, and we’re all going to get on the same page.”
In talking with Citty and other AISD staff, Jones has found they know many of the same people and have much in common.
“I’m excited to be a Bearcat,” he said. “Basketball camp is June 22-25.”