The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

April 6, 2014

Panthers coach Jones earns COY honors

POND CREEK, Okla. — For as good of a year as he had as head coach at Pond Creek-Hunter (19-5 record, first state tournament trip), 2014 Enid News & Eagle Northwest Oklahoma Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Darin Jones had an even better year as a father.

Daughter Jade signed with Southwestern Oklahoma State, was voted the 2014 Enid News & Eagle Northwest Oklahoma girls player of the year and led Pond Creek-Hunter to its first-ever girls basketball state title.

“The ultimate goal for every coach is to win a state championship, but for me as a father, it couldn’t get any better,’’ Jones said.

“The night she was born, I put a little stuffed basketball in her crib. Ever since then I (dragged) her to all the team camps (he coached at). That was the accumulation of years and years of hard work ... hours spent by herself working on her game ... every kid dreams of winning the gold ball, but it was especially true for Jade. She had been going to state tournaments since she was 3 years old.’’

Jones, now a father of five, resigned as Pioneer’s girls coach nine years ago to spend more time with his children, who were living in Pond Creek with their mother.

The next year, he jumped at the chance to become the Panthers’ boys coach.

“It was a real blessing that I got the job at Pond Creek-Hunter,’’ Jones said. “It turned into almost like a fairy tale story ... I couldn’t have written it any better.’’

Neither could the Panthers, who are 134-68 in Jones’ eight seasons. This past season, Pond Creek-Hunter qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1986.

Jones said it was not an accident the Panthers reached the state finals in football and the quarterfinals in basketball.

“It’s a credit to my players,’’ he said. “They listened, worked hard and spent a lot of time in the gym. They did whatever I asked of them.’’

Jones didn’t get most of his players until Dec. 15 due to football season. They even had to skip their own tournament because the playoffs ran a week late because of inclement weather.

He said that actually was an asset, especially in February. His team was in mid-season form, full of hunger.

“By the end of January, teams tend to go through a little bit of burnout, especially the non-football schools,’’ Jones said. “We never experienced that ... even in the state tournament week, we were hungry for more. You had to run them out of the gym.’’

Defense was a constant for the Panthers, who held 16 opponents to under 40 points.

Never was that more evident than in a 25-22 heartstopper over Drummond in the area losers bracket finals, where two steals by Zach Rayner in the final two minutes proved pivotal.

“I’m a firm believer if you play good defense, you have a chance in every game,’’ Jones said.

The Panthers shot under 20 percent against the Bulldogs in the fourth meeting between the schools this past season. But, Jones had so much confidence in his veteran team (four seniors on the court), he didn’t call a timeout in the final minute.

It paid off when Trent Grimes hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Jones a ticket to his first state tournament as a coach.

“All I can remember is our stat keeper and bus driver hugging me,’’ Jones said. “It was kind of ironic that Trent hit the shot. He did such a marvelous job on Brady Kokojan (News & Eagle’s 2014 Northwest Oklahoma Player of the Year), who was held to five points. Trent always understood his role. He knew he wasn’t a scorer, but it was deserving he made that shot.’’

Jones said assistant coach Boyd Peterson has been a key cog in the PC-H machine.

“We couldn’t have done it without him,’’ Jones said. “He’s an outstanding shooting coach. He’s dedicated his time and effort to the program.’’

Jones said this award was special for him because he was chosen in a vote of his peers.

“Any time you get recognized by your peers, it means a lot,’’ he said. “I’m flattered that my fellow coaches recognized me.’’

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Moving In? Indoor football coming back to Enid?

    Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers manager Mark Timberlake are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Morris Claiborne Claiborne wants to prove worth to Dallas

    Morris Claiborne had already told reporters he was ready to prove he was worthy of Dallas’ dramatic move up the draft board to get him with the sixth overall pick in 2012. He didn’t waste any time showing some urgency.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Tebow NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorney: OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-30-14

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hixon added to West All-State football team

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.