It has been a “whirlwind” of a week for Tommy Jones.
The veteran football coach who has shown a knack for building a successful program at Dacula now gets an opportunity to inaugurate Hall County’s newest high school team in 2018.
It was announced Thursday that Jones will be Cherokee Bluff High’s first football coach next fall, pending approval from the Hall County Board of Education next Monday.
“Today was a bittersweet day,” Jones said Thursday. “I really enjoy the building process and have always had a desire to open a new school. ...Both (Cherokee Bluff principal) Wes McGee and (athletic director) Kenny Hill have been extremely accommodating.
“Their energy for the future of Cherokee Bluff is contagious. … It is evident they are going to be successful in every area of the school.”
The Gwinnett County native and 1991 Brookwood High graduate brings 17 years of coaching experience to Cherokee Bluff. Jones went 27-43 in seven seasons (2006-2012) as Lumpkin County’s head coach before returning to his coaching roots of Dacula High in 2013.
Cherokee Bluff athletic director Kenny Hill recently reached out to Jones, and the hiring process continued from there, according to the coach.
Jones, who was able to deliver the news to his players Thursday, voiced his gratitude for Dacula principal Bryan Long and athletic director Mark Karen giving him the opportunity to lead the Falcons program to new heights. He went 37-22 in four seasons, guiding the program to three region titles and four playoff berths that included multiple second-round appearances and one state quarterfinal (2013) berth.
In his final season, Dacula (7-5, 5-0 Region 8-6A) captured its second-consecutive region title before advancing to the second round of the Class 6A tournament.
“Dacula has been a very special place to my family,” Jones said. “I have enjoyed it every day for the past five years, and I’ve got nothing but just tremendous feelings towards the people there and the opportunity that I had.”
The Bears will compete in a very deep Region 7-3A alongside East Hall, Dawson County, Fannin County, Greater Atlanta Christian, North Hall and Lumpkin County.
Of course, it’s a little early to talk schematics, but Jones is eager to get started.
“Once we get the opportunity to get started in spring practice, we’ll have time to evaluate our personnel,” Jones added. “At that time we’ll know what works best for Cherokee Bluff. I know starting a school is going to be exhausting and rewarding at the same time. I look forward to running a hundred miles an hour at the challenge.”