After less than two full years on the job AD David Jones decided that it was time for he and his family to move on.
In a statement from Coach Jones he said, “We wish Ballinger ISD the best of luck in their search for a new AD. It is time for my family to explore other options and go a different direction. I appreciate Ballinger ISD allowing us the opportunity to be a head coach.”
Jones, who replaced former coach Justin Wiley in 2015, posted a two-year record of 9-12, including two playoff appearances. With many returning young players, next year looked to be the turnaround point for a program searching for consistency. Instead Ballinger finds itself in an all too familiar position.
“We appreciate Jones and his family for everything. He worked as hard at his job as anyone could have.” Ballinger ISD Superintendent Jeff Butts said. “This is totally his choice. The board, in February, renewed his contract with a 7-0 vote and it was a two-year contract. He was already on a two-year contract, so they just extended (it) a year. … He’s done a great job here. He’s tried to raise the expectations and I appreciate his time here.
The search for a new coach is expected to get underway following next week’s school board meeting.
Butts also made it known that he expects to grow from this situation. If David Jones was the most important hire he has made so far, this next one will make that pale in comparison.
In all of this turnover Butts made sure to note that this is an unfortunate event, but not an impossible one. “Public education is tough. Everyone in this job earns a ton of respect, because of what they are asked to do on a day to day basis.” Butts said, “Turnover happens a lot in this profession and it’s not the parents that suffer, but the kids. I feel like Ballinger is a great place for people to want to come and be a part of. Perfect, no, but no place is.”
Butts reiterated his growth, “ I know more now about what questions to ask for someone that wants to come be the AD here. I can be more upfront with the challenges that they will face and hope they will face them the right way in order to build up this program to where it should be in a respectful and caring way.”
Despite the timeframe that Ballinger is looking at Butts does not want to be forced to lower his expectations in order to meet a timeframe. “We want someone to come here that is going to make this program the right way. Someone that can bring everyone together, from the administrators, coaches, players and parents to buy in to what they are doing. We will find the right person for this job. We want coaches and teachers to come here, not just looking for a job, but to come here and invest in this community. To be a part of it.”
Regardless of what comes from this hire Ballinger is asking, “Again?”
What happens from here is going to take a lot of soul searching from a community that remembers the glory days of the program, but can’t quite seem to remember how they got there. Consistency, hard work and dedication are words that spring to mind, but is that something that they are ready for? Time will tell.