Tonight at Lemont High School, before the varsity boys basketball game, a legendary high school basketball coach will be memorialized. I never played for him. I’ve only met him a dozen or so times. But I’ll be there because my dad can not.
Tonight, Coach John Jones will be in attendance as the hardwood at LHS will be named John Jones Court in his honor.
The hall of fame coach led LHS from 1961-1989 to 409 victories. He is a member of the IBCA hall of fame and the LHSA Athletic Hall of Fame, started the women’s program, among other noteworthy accomplishments listed in his biography below.
Among those many victories was a particularly good season in 1974/75 when his team won a school record 26 games and made an appearance in the Sweet 16, a team that my father was a part of…and would tell you ALL ABOUT whenever given the chance.
This is him with the net around his neck in the first row.
Since I was old enough to understand the English language, my father would tell us about how great that team was. About how they had more talent and more grit and more enthusiasm than any other team in the state. About how Coach Jonesy was the best coach and an even better man and mentor.
To say Coach Jones had an impact on my dad’s life would be an understatement. I’d even say Coach Jones had an influence on MY life through his positive impact on my dad.
Sadly, my father passed away in 2021, and believe me, death is the only thing that would have kept him from attending this ceremony. That’s why I’m going. I want to honor and celebrate the man that helped mold the man that molded me and my brother.
I’m sure Coach Jones had similar impacts on hundreds of other athletes that played for him. Think about that type of legacy.
On behalf of my dad, and other players who aren’t able to make it for one reason or another….thanks, Coach. You deserve all of the praise you will get tonight!
Served Lemont High School from 1957-92, holding roles as a teacher, coach and athletic director… amassed 409 victories as the boys’ basketball coach from 1961-89… founded the Lemont Christmas Classic basketball tournament… tabbed as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Coach of the Year in 1975 after leading his team to a school-record 26 wins and a Sweet 16 appearance… inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame in 1982 and also served as the organization’s president… tabbed as the Joliet-area Coach of the Year in 1970… served as a head coach for the Class A All-Star Game in 1986… cited as the Illinois Athletic Directors Association (IADA) Athletic Director of the Year in 1985… totaled 201 wins as the boys’ golf coach, and also served as a coach for baseball and boys’ track and field… received the school’s “Extra Mile” award in 1984 and its “Pride in Excellence” award in 1988… served as an assistant coach for Joliet Junior College’s National Championship squad in 1994… nominated for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Hall of Fame… established the girls’ athletics program at Lemont High School… member of numerous service organizations… author of many published articles on basketball strategy.