New Winchester athletic director Tim Passmore coached football at the school through one of the best stretches in program history, highlighted by undefeated regular seasons in 1987 and 1991.
Mike Jones played defensive back for those 1987 Golden Falcons, and on Friday morning, his old defensive coordinator officially brought him back into the fold.
The Randolph Central School Board held a special meeting Friday morning and unanimously approved hiring Jones as the Winchester varsity head football coach and as a social studies teacher at the high school.
“I have such fond memories of playing football,” Jones said. “I attribute that completely to Winchester Community High School and the Winchester community as a whole. It’s a really good situation for me.”
Jones coached 10 of the previous 12 years at Central as an assist to departed head coach John Hochstetler, who resigned last month to take the same position at Monroe Central. Jones served as the athletic director at Delta in between his two stints at Central. Before his first stint with the Bearcats, he assisted for seven years at Yorktown under head coach Doug Denny.
“He just brings a wealthy of experience having coached at Yorktown and Muncie Central and having coached some very successful teams at both places,” said Passmore, who replaced the retired Steve Howell as the Winchester athletic director and is in his third week in his new position.
Jones lives in Winchester, just seven blocks from the football field. He said he is excited about eliminating the commute back and forth between Muncie and Winchester, but he admitted leaving Central feels bittersweet. He assisted three sectional champion Central teams.
“I think John is as good a man as there is on earth,” said Jones, who resigned as a Bearcat assistant after Hochstetler left for Monroe Central. “I think the things he accomplished, and I helped him accomplish, in these last 10 years is one of the greatest achievements of my life.
“I have nothing bad to say about Muncie Central. I hate leaving them, but I know there’s great people there. The social studies department I taught in had as good of people as I’ve ever been around.”
Central loses a football coach and one of its best teachers. Muncie Community Schools named him its teacher of the year for the 2010-11 school year.
Jones inherits a Winchester football program from departed Ryan Vermilion that managed only one win last season. The Golden Falcons posted a 4-6 record in 2010. Their 9-3 mark in 2009 accounts for their only winning record in the last six seasons.
This is a formidable rebuilding project for Jones, complicated further by the fact that his hire comes with other teams already weeks into their summer conditioning programs.
“One of the things that John Hochstetler will quickly teach anyone, whether it’s a player or coach, is nothing is free, so you’re going to work for everything you achieve,” Jones said. “We’ll try to instill that in the young men in Winchester. Coaches are going to have to work hard. We’re going to get after it. That’s going to start Monday morning in the weight room.”
Jones already secured a household name in the Winchester community for his coaching staff. The Randolph Central School Board approved the hire of former Winchester head coach Scott Hargrave (1996-2006) as an assistant. Jones played with Hargrave at Winchester back in the mid-to-late 1980s.
“I couldn’t be happier about that,” Jones said of Hargrave assisting him. “We’re going to put together a group that is committed. Most importantly, we’re about doing what’s right, doing things the right way, treat people the right way, and all of those things are going to attribute to a successful program.”