Attitude is Key to Coach Tracy Jones

Kenzie Moten, Contributor

Tracy Jones, a coach at Ashley Ridge High School, makes unrecognized changes in kids’ lives everyday. Jones is 28 and was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. Jones’ “southern hospitality” got the best of him when he attended a college up north. While attending that college, he claims, “I learned a lot about where I came from based off of how they were treating me or how they lived their life.”

Jones is one of three siblings. He and his twin sister share life lessons and he says he learned a lot from her because she dropped out of high school. He explains, “I see how hard it is, you know, not to have a diploma or degree. I took the other route, I got my degree and diploma and I see all the opportunities I have.” Jones’ older sister made mistakes and he recognized and did not want to repeat it, but strives instead, which he does everyday at ARHS.

Jones works in the Prevention and Intervention Department, which deals with students who may struggle in school or students who believe “school may not be for them,” so he gives them alternative routes, just like his sister who dropped out. Jones adds on, “I feel like if she had someone there for her, she would have finished.”

Jones is very supportive in kids’ dreams, always pushing them to do their best even when they don’t want to. Ironically, Jones never saw himself stepping foot into school ever again. The thing that drove him back was “wanting to be able to help, give back, and at the time, see my family more.”

Jones describes himself as being well-rounded, passionate, and caring. Growing up, he struggled in school because he is dyslexic, but Jones overcame this and says, “Getting my degree on my own in another state was one of my greatest accomplishments.” Because Jones works in a school, while he works, he searches a lot and checks everything for errors before he sends or submits.

Success is looked at differently by others’ perspectives. Jones boldly explains, “Success is conquering your fears, going out of your comfort zone, and accomplishing the very thing you don’t think you can accomplish.”

When Jones feels bad about a student not finishing, he remembers the very first student he took under his wings, with which he had to work very hard to get him back into the school system, but it paid off. The student recently visited Jones with a hug and smile on his face as he shared the diploma with him. Jones loves looking at the positives presented to him and he says, “When negative comes around, you’ve got to think about the positives. You gotta think about the little miracles.”

Jones’ mindset is credited toward his father, who has always been there for him, who has taught and preached to him about how to be a man. He speaks with him the most and is his best friend and main motivation to continue doing the right things.

Because Jones sees and interacts with kids all day, he believes drugs are stopping this generation from their full potential due to more accessibility and younger parents who participate in it as well as not setting a great example for their children.

The goal for him is to change kids’ mindsets and he credits our generation with being “very creative and thinking smarter.” He says, “Y’all are evolving, it’s crazy how different it is now.” Jones believes young adults don’t fear their future, but it brings uncertainty, which is why he mentors them as well.

During track, he brings the same energy and open attitude. Jones is the ARHS throwing coach and he won state in 2010 at Fort Dorchester High School. The crazy thing is that he never received a scholarship or any offers, though he was so successful with discus.

He claims that is another reason why he is coach: so he can help students earn scholarships and pursue any achievement through hard work, dedication, and fun. Jones always puts a smile on his face at practice and keeps everyone laughing while running, throwing, or doing anything.

Alana Jackson is a fellow teammate who thinks Jones inspires the whole track community. She explains, “He inspires other people and he is the type of person to continue to push forward, even though he has faced a lot of adversities in his life… he is very encouraging and nice to everybody.”

A cause worth fighting for is definitely education for Jones. He stands on,” Knowledge is power, you know, people think money is power. A dummy can have money, you can have all the money in the world, but if you don’t have knowledge, you don’t know what to do with it.” Jones educates kids on the importance of valuing relationships over the small-minded things society wants us to value.

Jones is a big part of students’ lives at AR, helping them through the difficult times and the best. He always has your back.