Under the leadership of Adrian Jones, the Shaw University football program will look to get back to its winning ways. He took over a program that was 1-9 in 2015 and after going 2-8 in his first season, Coach Jones feels he has laid the foundation to turn the program around and get back to Shaw’s tradition of winning.
Entering his fourth year at the helm, Jones and his staff have continued their foundation of bringing a championship mind-set back to Shaw football. Coming off a 5-5 overall season (marking the best finish since 2013) and a 4-2 mark in the CIAA, Jones had eight players garner All-CIAA recognition, highlighted by linebacker Devon Hunt who was named the CIAA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Following Hunt’s remarkable season, tight end Kevonta Moses and offensive lineman Keanu Gonzales joined Hunt on the CIAA First Team ballots while wide receivers Marquis Gorham, Daniel Bender and defensive back Jaleel Scroggins tabbed honorable mention. 2018 also featured two Bears named to the CIAA All-Rookie Team in defensive lineman Mark Shannon and offensive lineman, Tyrese Bobbitt.
Jones guided the Bears to a 3-7 finish in 2017, again going 2-5 against conference oppponents. That year also featured six players on the All-CIAA list, including two players that were selected First-Team All-CIAA in Devon Hunt and Jaleel Scroggins. Three were chosen to the CIAA All-Rookie Team in Scroggins, Kevin Sherman and Daniel Bender. Keith Alston made Second Team All-CIAA while Uriah Bethea, Sherman and Justus Sapp received honorable mention recognition.
During his first season, Jones had five players named to the All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Team, including two Bears whom were named to the 2016 All-Rookie Team. Hunt was named the 2016 CIAA Defensive Rookie of the Year while defensive lineman Dominique Hannibal earned First Team honors. Linebackers Keelan Jones and Hunt recieved Second Team accolades while Bruce Parker, Jr. was selected Second Team in punt returns and Venson Jones, Jr. earned honorable mention.
Jones comes to Shaw from North Carolina Central University where he was the running backs coach and camp coordinator for the Eagles. During his two stints at NCCU, Jones coached running backs, defensive backs and outside linebackers. As an assistant coach at NCCU, Jones helped the Eagles garner two CIAA championships (2005 and 2006), two MEAC championships (2014 and 2015) and a Black College National Championship (2006).
Prior to NCCU, Jones led his high school alma mater, Southern High School in Durham, N.C., to the 2013 NCHSAA 3-AA State Championship title. In his seventh season as the head coach at Southern High, Jones led the Spartans to the state title following the team’s seventh straight playoff appearance under his supervision. With a Big 8 Conference championship also a part of the team’s historic run, Jones was selected as the 2013 Big 8 Conference Coach of the Year. He was also the PAC-6 Coach of the Year three times after charging the Spartans to three consecutive PAC-6 championships from 2007 to 2009.
As a student-athlete at NCCU, Jones earned First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Region honors twice and remains among the school’s career leaders in passes defended (41) and interceptions (10).
In 1996, Jones earned First-Team All-CIAA and Second Team All-South Region honors as a junior when he collected eight interceptions, placing him second on NCCU’s single-season records list. He was voted as the NCAA Division II Player of the Week after tying a school record with three interceptions in a game against Elizabeth City State University. That year, the Eagles boasted the No. 1 pass defense in the nation.
Jones was again selected First-Team All-CIAA and Second Team All-South Region in 1997 after leading the conference with an 11.0-yard punt return average and a 29.5-yard kickoff return average. Jones broke a 52-year-old school record when he returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown against Fayetteville State University, the longest punt return in school history at the time. He graduated from NC Central with a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy in 2001.
After NCCU, Jones went on to play arena football with the Carolina Cobras in 2001 and 2003, the Augusta Stallions in 2002, and the Greensboro Prowlers in 2000. He also served as defensive coordinator with the South Georgia Wildcats of the AFL2, leading his squad to the No. 1-ranked red-zone defense in the league.
Jones is married to Dr. Kamala Uzzell Jones, and has a daughter, Jayla.