Long-time Clark County youth coach, fan memorialized

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023

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When George Rogers Clark High School’s boys’ basketball team was in the throes of a double-overtime matchup against Lincoln County en route to their state championship in 2022, at least one person could be counted on to cheer in the crowd decked out in red.

Indeed, there were plenty of spectators, but this particular man – Brandon O’Neal Jones – will be long recognized by those who recall his work in the community.

Jones, who passed away in June, one week after his 42nd birthday, was honored with the reading and presentation of a proclamation at the Clark County Courthouse on Saturday, Sept. 2, as the 44th Annual Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival took place.

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“Coach Jones was very instrumental in the life of my son and many other student athletes [and] youth in general,” said Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Dustin Howard, whose son – Jones – currently plays for George Rogers Clark High School’s football team. “He mentored, and although Coach Jones is not with us in person, his legacy will be felt in this community for lifetimes because of what he has given our children.”

Jones – as alluded to – spent much time coaching future GRC athletes and other young men and frequently attended local parks and other events to cheer on others.

Speaking after the proclamation, Howard added that Jones’ character spoke volumes.

“Brandon was one of those guys that you meet, and you think, ‘Man, that guy is genuine, and he loves our community and our kids,’” Howard said, having come to know Jones for coaching football for Civitan and later Robert D. Campbell Junior High School. “He was the energizer bunny and a fireplug to get our kids inspired…he also taught kids how to really look at the big picture [and] how to overcome adversity; how to stay positive in the face of something difficult.”

Clark County PVA Jada Brady came up with the idea of honoring Jones and sought other community officials.

Clark County Judge-Executive Les Yates was present, as was Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed.

Reading the proclamation, Mayor Reed offered the following words.

“I, JoEllen Reed, Mayor of the City of Winchester, do hereby honor and commend the life of Brandon O’Neal Jones for his many outstanding accomplishments and self-sacrificing spirit in serving the citizens of Winchester,” she said.

Yet she was not alone.

In addition to Howard and Yates, Reed was joined by Jones’ family.

Jones, the son of Gina Francis, the late Terry Lee Jones, and the stepson of William Harris, was the father to Azzaeya Morris, Kobe Jones, and Jacob Jones.

He was also a grandfather to Kaison Jones and brother of William “Bo” Harris and Najaee Harris.

His wife, Tiffany Jones, spoke.

“It’s just amazing to me…the outpouring of this community for my husband,” Jones said. “He didn’t do it to be recognized. He did it because he loved the children. He loved his community, and I’m just so grateful.”

This July, the first Brandon Jones Tournament – welcoming several GRC basketball stars past and present – took place.

Through the work of his son, Jacob, it’s an event the family hopes to continue with to memorialize Jones in the future.

“Every summer, I hope people will come out and see and carry [on] his legacy,” said Jacob Jones.