Running backs coach Perry Jones inspires team on, off field

RYAN GOODMAN // THE FLAT HAT Prior to his coaching career, running backs coach Perry Jones played at Virginia under William and Mary football head coach Mike London.

Wednesday, Jan. 31, William and Mary football head coach Mike London announced Perry Jones as the Tribe’s new running backs coach.

For the past 11 years, Jones coached high school football, serving as head coach of Glen Allen High School in Glen Allen, Va. from 2019-23. This past season, he earned the team a spot in the Virginia 6A Regional Playoffs.

Prior to his coaching career, Jones played running back at Virginia, where he ranked fifth all-time in career receptions, ninth in all-purpose yards and 17th in rushing yards. As a senior, Jones co-captained the team, becoming the fourth player in UVA history to reach 1,000 career rushing and receiving yards.

As a student-athlete at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va., Jones was listed as the No. 143 high school recruit by ESPN. He also set multiple school records at Oscar Smith, accumulating 141 tackles his junior year and scoring 54 career touchdowns.

Though Jones enjoyed his time at Glen Allen High School, coaching college-level football was always his dream.

“I love how detailed you can get in the schematics of college football,” Jones said. “Starting off at a high school coaching level gave me a good foundation, so luckily, I’m able to take this next step.”

Jones was also drawn to William and Mary because of the connection he has with London, who coached him at UVA for three years.

“He knew I had aspirations to coach at the next level,” Jones said. “The bonds and connections we made there is something that sticks out to me, and I’m glad to get a little bit of that again.”

One of Jones’s mentors, Jesse Casey, also played football at William and Mary. Casey was Jones’s middle school history teacher and football coach.

“It’s special that my mentor also played here,” Jones said. “This is a great place to be.”

On top of his solid foundation with the current coaching staff, Jones also looks forward to forming new bonds with Tribe football players.

“I’m going to be here for them and will do whatever I can to help them succeed,” Jones said. “One of my goals is to try and help them be not only good football players, but also good men.”

Though Jones has worked with Tribe football for less than a month, his impact is tangible to both players and coaches.

“He has a great perspective, specifically for our offensive staff and for our players,” offensive coordinator Mario Acitelli said. “That combined with his playing career and who he was as a player is really good for us.”

Acitelli further emphasized Jones’s authenticity, on and off the field.

“It’s easy to work with somebody who’s humble, and he’s been great that way,” Acitelli said. “If I had to pick one thing about him that I admire, it’s how humble he is despite his accomplishments as a player, which are numerous.”

Junior running back Martin Lucas appreciates Jones’s relatability.

“He’s going to bring a lot of new talents for us because he used to play running back at UVA,” Lucas said. “He knows what he’s talking about.”

Lucas highlighted Jones’s work ethic and dedication to the team as well.

“He always wants to be the best, and he always makes sure we try to be the best,” Lucas said. “I’m looking forward to taking my game to another level with him.”

In addition to connecting with players, Jones eventually hopes to win a national championship with the Tribe.

“The goal is always to win a championship, but I do also understand the value of maximizing the day and doing the best you can today,” Jones said.

Jones also looks forward to spending time with family in Williamsburg. He hopes to introduce his six- and two-year-old daughters to players, coaches and students.

“College won’t be unfamiliar to my kids when they get there,” Jones said. “Having a whole family experience is what I’m looking forward to.”

Ultimately, Jones aspires to help players apply football to their daily lives.

“A lot of the stuff that I’m still being presented with today, I can pinpoint a time in my football career that I can apply it to, which helps me get through tough times,” Jones said. “I’m a firm believer that football is a mirror of life.”


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