Dale Jones is in his 17th year at Appalachian State and his third season as the program’s defensive coordinator. He also serves as inside linebackers coach.
Jones came to Appalachian in 1996 as the team’s defensive line coach and special-teams coordinator before moving to work with the linebackers in 2005. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2010 and in his two seasons at the helm of the Mountaineer defense, Appalachian has ranked among the top half of the Southern Conference in scoring and total defense both years. Last season, Appalachian topped the SoCon in interceptions and red-zone defense while in 2011, the Apps led the league in sacks and third-down conversion defense.
Player development has been a staple of Jones’ tenure at Appalachian State. During his 16 seasons with the Mountaineers, he has coached 10 all-America defensive linemen and linebackers, including four two-time honorees, and 17 all-conference performers that have earned the recognition a total of 29 times. Three of his pupils — Josh Jeffries (2002), K.T. Stovall (2003) and Jacque Roman (2008) — have been named the Southern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.
In his seven seasons mentoring the Mountaineers’ linebackers, he has averaged nearly two all-SoCon honorees per season, with Appalachian ‘backers honored 12 times during that span. In 2008, all three starting linebackers — Roman, Pierre Banks and D.J. Smith — garnered all-conference recognition.
Ten former Mountaineers coached by Jones have gone on to play in the NFL, including three players currently in the league: seven-year pro Jason Hunter (Denver Broncos), who Jones mentored as defensive line coach from 2002-04, second-year pro D.J. Smith (Green Bay Packers), who Jones coached as both linebackers coach (2007-10) and defensive coordinator (2010) and Mark LeGree (San Francisco 49ers), who was drafted following Jones’ first year as defensive coordinator.
While serving as Appalachian State’s special-teams coordinator, Jones was named the 2002 Special Teams Coordinator of the Year by American Football Monthly.
One of the most popular and decorated players in University of Tennessee history, Jones was an all-American and two-time all-Southeastern Conference performer as a linebacker for the Vols from 1983-86. He is best known as the defensive leader of UT’s 1985 squad, which won the SEC championship and stunned No. 2 Miami (Fla.), 35-7, in the 1986 Sugar Bowl. Jones’ fourth-quarter interception of Alabama’s Mike Shula that sealed the Vols’ 16-14 win over the Crimson Tide remains one of the most memorable moments of Tennessee’s run to the 1985 SEC title.
Jones graduated from UT in 1988 and began his coaching career as an assistant under legendary head coach Johnny Majors at his alma mater in 1989. He went on to serve one-year stints with the Parma Panthers of the Italian American Football League (1990) and the University of Florida (1991) before a five-year tenure at Georgia Military College, including the final four seasons as defensive coordinator.
One of 13 children in his family (six brothers and six sisters), Jones is married to the former Donna Hall. The couple has a daughter, Brooke.
JONES AT A GLANCE
1989: Tennessee (Defensive Assistant)
1990: Parma Panthers (Defensive Coordinator)
1991: Florida (Defensive Assistant)
1991-95: Georgia Military (Linebackers and Defensive Backs)
1992-95: Georgia Military (Defensive Coordinator)
1996-2004: Appalachian State (Defensive Line/Special Teams)
2005-09: Appalachian State (Linebackers)
2010-present: Appalachian State (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
1983-86: Tennessee (LB)
Alma Mater: Tennessee, 1988
Hometown: Cleveland, Tenn.
Wife: Donna (Hall)