Veteran Woodlawn coach Don Jones resigns

Don Jones submitted his resignation as head football coach/athletic director at Woodlawn High on Monday.

The 64-year-old coach said his resignation doesn’t mean he plans to retire. In fact, Jones is scheduled to remain at Woodlawn as a teacher.

“The time I’ve spent here, and the players I’ve coached here over the last seven years mean a lot to me,” Jones said. “I won’t lie to you, this last year was a tough one, but we battled.

“I’ve got some good memories, like that playoff win over Ruston two years ago.

“I think the best thing for me to do is to teach, sit back and give myself some time to rejuvenate. I’ll see what happens from there.”

The Panthers finished 1-9 this season, beating McKinley 38-22 in Week 10.

WHS was 1-4 in District 5-5A. Seasons like 2012 have been a rarity for Jones, who has coached for 41 years, including two head-coaching stints at Plaquemine High along with head-coaching stints at Wisner, Sterlington, Crowley and Winnfield.

Jones is a member of Louisiana’s 200 wins list with a career mark of 232-151-3. In seven seasons at Woodlawn, his teams compiled a record of 36-36, including district titles in Class 4A in 2009 and 2010.

In 2010, the Panthers beat Ruston in the first round of the playoffs, becoming the first East Baton Rouge Parish public school system member to win a playoff game in four years.

Woodlawn won eight straight games in 2010 and finished 9-3, including a regional-round playoff loss. WHS moved up to 5A for 2011 and 2012 and did not make the playoffs either season.

In two stints that totaled 15 seasons at Plaquemine, Jones had four 10-0 regular-season marks, and his teams made the playoffs 13 times. Jones coached future University of Louisiana at Lafayette and NFL star Brian Mitchell while at Plaquemine.

Jones also spent seven seasons as an assistant at ULL before returning to the high school ranks.

Jones took Sterlington to the semifinals in 1975 and 1976 and also guided Crowley to the semifinals in 1993.

Woodlawn Principal Daniel Edwards praised Jones.

“He (Jones) has done a great job,” Edwards said. “I’d like to thank coach Jones for his contributions to Woodlawn High School. The thought process now is taking the program in a new direction moving forward.”

Edwards said the search for a new head football coach/athletic director has begun.

Applicants must have a valid Louisiana teaching certificate and should send résumés to dedwards1@ebrschools.org, or they can call Edwards at (225) 753-1200.