What do high school track & field, West Point, and Taco Bell have in common? Well, maybe a number of things, but one is Coach John W. Jones.
John Jones is an Army brat who was born at Ft. Eustis, Virginia in 1951. Growing up all over the world, he started his track career in junior high in Monroe, Louisiana. He attended high school at R. J. Reynolds in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he ran hurdles and competed in the decathlon.
John continued his track career at the United States Military Academy where he set the freshman hurdle record. While at West Point, he also qualified for the 1971 NCAA Indoor Nationals in the 60 yard high hurdles, running 7.2.
John graduated from West Point in 1973. After five years in the Army at Ft. Jackson, John returned to school and received his master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. In 1980 he became Coach Jones when he took over as Head Boys Cross Country and Track & Field Coach at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina.
So far in his 28 years at Spring Valley, Coach Jones’ track teams have won four state titles and six runner-up trophies.
In 1991 Coach Jones and his staff started the Taco Bell Track & Field Classic. The meet (an NSSF Select Meet) annually hosts 150 schools, 250 teams, and 2500 athletes.
Coach Jones is a member of the South Carolina Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2007 he was inducted into the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame.
John is married to Lizbeth Finnerty Jones, formerly of Mahwah, New Jersey, and has two adult children: Johnny, 27, and Katie, 24.