App State DC Dale Jones back in Boone for 24th season


Courtesy App State Athletics

App State defensive coordinator Dale Jones celebrates the Mountaineers 2018 Sun Belt Championship win over Louisiana with an embrace. After spending 2019 at Louisville on former App State head coach Scott Satterfield’s staff, Jones is back in Boone for his 24th year with the Mountaineers.

Cameron Burnett, Visual Managing Editor

Defensive coordinator Dale Jones has been part of the Appalachian community for a long time and returned to App State’s staff after spending 2019 with Louisville under former App State head coach Scott Satterfield.

Jones accepted Shawn Clark’s offer in January to return to Boone as the defensive coordinator for 2020. 

“This is definitely home for me, I spent 23 years here and I have the opportunity to come back and finish my career here. I’m excited about it, I’m excited about the team, the kids, and how hard they’re working,” Jones said.

The Mountaineers’ family mindset and the App State community helped make Boone home for Jones. For him, football isn’t the only reason he has stayed with App State for multiple decades.

“I think the biggest thing is just being back in the community. I feel like it’s home. The place that you work and it’s the place you want to live, it’s the place you want to have a family. Life’s better and I think that’s the biggest key,” Jones said.

Jones has mainly been a linebacker coach in his time with the Mountaineers, and has taken pride in being a mentor for the position he formerly played. He was a two-time All-SEC linebacker during his college career at The University of Tennessee. 

When Jones returned from his year at Louisville, those players he mentored in 2018 had become leaders in the locker room, specifically junior linebackers Trey Cobb and D’Marco Jackson.

“It’s awesome to watch those two, how they’ve developed and now they’re not just players, they’re leaders,” Jones said. “That part of it, it’s always fun to see a young guy play early and see how he develops as a leader, his skills, and just the whole part of it, of taking in young guys. Now instead of somebody putting them under their wing, they’re doing the same thing.”

This is the type of development that Jones has tried to implement in the program and it’s part of what keeps him coming back and being a part of the team year after year.

When Jones was a coach for those first 23 years at App State, he was always a positional coach. Now as the defensive coordinator, he doesn’t see it as much of a difference and believes the whole staff is important. He says that’s what makes this staff as successful as they are in helping their team win.

“One thing that’s been great about Appalachian State is that we all do this together. Every coach that I have has a big part in putting our game plan together…We’re all on the same page, we’re equal, the difference is I’m making the call,” Jones said. “It takes a group effort and it’s been fun because we’ve been able to bring back our defense we had two years ago and I think in a lot of ways that we’ve made it even better with the ideals that the other coaches have.”

Jones plans on finishing his career at App State and is excited to get back on the field and help the team push forward.

“It’s been fun, it’s just awesome. I love this place, it’s my life and it’ll always be.” Dale Jones said.