To Jim Warner, nothing exemplifies Ed Jones’ approach to coaching more than Burris’ sectional baseball game two years ago.
Lapel, then ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, hosted Jones’ 3-win team as the heavy favorite in an opening game of the Frankton Sectional.
The Bulldogs eventually won 5-1, but just as he had all season, Jones cared more about his team’s improvement than the final result.
“We struggled that season and the odds were against us but we went out and battled (Lapel),” said Warner, who worked with Jones the last four seasons. “I remember Ed being so proud and telling those kids afterwards how much better they’d gotten. The look on those kids faces was so happy because they couldn’t have stuck with those guys earlier in the season.
“Everything (Jones) told the kids about getting better and working hard had come true,” Warner said.
While he said he loves seeing a kid’s hard work pay off into development, Jones decided to experience the feeling in a lesser role.
After Shenandoah ended Burris’ season in May, Jones stepped down from his position, but not from the game entirely. He plans to stay involved in baseball by giving individual lessons.
“That’s what I was doing before I took the job, working with different kids on pitching,” Jones said. “I’ll go back to that, but be able to control it and not be tied down to a schedule or working on a ball diamond all the time.”
The announcement wasn’t unexpected, but it ended a long career of coaching stints for Jones around East Central Indiana.
As either an assistant coach, head coach or pitching coach, Jones spent time at Cowan, Central and Delta, along with extended time coaching the Muncie American Legion Post-19 team.
His biggest coaching job came at Anderson University, where he led to the Ravens to the Final Four of the Division III College World Series in 2004.
“That was probably the highlight of my baseball career,” Jones said. “It was a great bunch of men and they worked hard for me and we accomplished a lot.”
While Jones, now 62, might be done coaching teams at the high school and college level, his methods remain in those who learned from him.
“(From the time we spent together) I will take away the patience and time he had to make a kid better,” Warner said. “Ed would take kids that I would think, ‘Wow, this kid doesn’t have much ability,’ and he would show patience and confidence and work with this guy to turn him into a pretty good athlete.”