Former Oscar Smith star Perry Jones joins William & Mary football coaching staff

WILLIAMSBURG — Perry Jones always dreamed of one day coaching at the college level, but he knew those chances were slim as a high school coach.

The former Oscar Smith High standout will get his chance, though, as he joined the William & Mary coaching staff this week. He reunites with his college coach, Mike London.

“Over the years, we’ve been in contact,” he said. “Part of it is the personal relationship and the other part was when William & Mary guys were coming into recruit my guys at Glen Allen. Between those two things, we have been communicating a lot over the past years.”

So when London asked him to join his staff, Jones jumped at the opportunity.

“Coaching at the college level is something that I always wanted to do and really has been a dream of mine, so I knew I wanted to get there,” he said. “But you don’t see too many high school coaches just go to college, let alone Division I. So I just tried to make sure I was staying sharp and putting my best foot forward every day. So when an opportunity presented itself, I’d be ready to step into it. And that’s what happened.”

London said he’s always admired Jones. He remembers the 2011 season when Jones was captain and the Cavaliers went on the road and beat both Florida State and Miami.

“I remember the leadership and the things that he had, and just the way he carried himself,” London said.

London also heard great things about Jones from players who played for Jones.

“When one came on a visit here and we asked about (Jones), he said, ‘He’s outstanding, and a great coach and teacher,'” London said. “I already knew those things.”

So when a position opened on his staff, London offered it to Jones.

“It just worked out,” London said..

Jones was a star running back at Oscar Smith. He led the Tigers to district titles, helped lead the school to its first state title in 2008 and was named the Abe Goldblatt All-Tidewater Player of the Year.

London recruited him at UVA, and Jones had a stellar career there. He finished with 3,722 all-purpose yards (No. 13 on all-time list), 2,033 career receiving yards and 129 receptions (No. 10 on all-time list), and became the fourth player in school history and 12th in ACC history to reach 1,000 career rushing and receiving yards.

After college, Jones got into coaching and spent seven seasons at Glen Allen High, including the past five as head coach. Last season, his team lost to Oscar Smith 28-17 in the Class 6 Region A quarterfinal.

Jones, 33, said he couldn’t think of a better person to learn under than London.

“It’s going to be great. He is a man of faith and a man of character,” he said. “Even now, just seeing him, he’s the same when I played for him. I’ve tried to live my life that way. And having those qualities, it was easy for me to say, I absolutely want to coach under him. I want to learn under him and continue to grow. And I knew this was going to be a good place.”

Jones, who will coach running backs, began his first week at William & Mary this week.

But before he began, Greenwood Elementary in Henrico organized a special event for him as the school gave him a huge sendoff with a “Clap Out.”

“It was a great feeling,” said Jones, who was a special education teacher there. “The principal, Ryan Stein, is a sports guy, too, so he understood the move. He was really proud and happy I was making this move. And to call the kids out of the classroom for me and do the Clap Out was a really special moment.”

Larry Rubama, 757-575-6449,