Chris Jones (football coach)

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Chris Jones
refer to caption
Jones with the Argonauts in 2021
Edmonton Elks
Position:Head coach / General manager
Personal information
Born: (1967-09-25) September 25, 1967 (age 55)
South Pittsburg, Tennessee, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Career information
High school:
Career history
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards

Chris Jones (born September 25, 1967) is the head coach and general manager of the Edmonton Elks of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was previously the head coach and general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for three seasons, after serving as the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos for two seasons. Jones previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes, Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts before becoming a head coach. Jones won four Grey Cup rings with four teams between 2002 and 2015.[1]

College career[edit]

Born in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, Jones played college football for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as a walk-on, and received little playing time. Instead, he began focusing on a coaching career.[2][3]

Coaching career[edit]

NCAA career[edit]

Jones began his coaching career at North Jackson High School in Stevenson, Alabama, helping the team win a state championship in 1993. He began coaching NCAA football at Tennessee Tech University in 1995, where he served as a graduate assistant under head coach Jim Ragland.[4] After serving one season as a graduate assistant at the University of Alabama, he joined the University of Tennessee at Martin coaching staff as a defensive line coach in 1998. He returned to Tennessee Tech in 1999 as a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.[5]

Early CFL career[edit]

Jones moved to the CFL in 2002, after being an assistant coach for Arena League Las Vegas in the spring and summer, after being named the new defensive line coach of the Montreal Alouettes helping Montreal win the 90th Grey Cup. He remained there until 2007. In 2008, he was named defensive coordinator of the Calgary Stampeders, which won the 96th Grey Cup, and was promoted to Assistant Coach in 2010. He later joined the Toronto Argonauts as Defensive Coordinator and was part of the team that won the 100th Grey Cup.

Edmonton Eskimos[edit]

Jones was named head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos in November 2013. After a 12-6 2014 season, he was nominated for CFL Coach of the Year. Jones was nominated as the West representative for coach of the year in 2015 after winning 14 of the 18 regular season games. The East representative and winner was former Eskimos assistant coach Rick Campbell.[6] Jones' Eskimos were victorious over the Ottawa Redblacks in the 103rd Grey Cup game. Following the season the divisional rival Saskatchewan Roughriders were given permission by GM Ed Hervey to entering into negotiations to fill their vacant head coaching position.[7]

Saskatchewan Roughriders[edit]

On December 7, 2015, a mere week after winning the 2015 Grey Cup, it was announced that Jones would be the new general manager and head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. After a disappointing 3-15 season in 2015 Jones took over in 2016 and things got off to a poor start, as the team won only one of their first 11 games.[8] However, down the stretch they won four of the remaining seven games to finish with a record of 5-13. 2017 saw the Riders return to being a competitive team, as the club qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2014. After defeating the Ottawa Redblacks in a crossover playoff game the Riders were bested by the Toronto Argonauts who went on to win the 105th Grey Cup.[9] Following the season the Riders extended Jones' contract through the 2019 CFL season.[10] Jones and the Riders continued to improve in the 2018 season, accumulating 12 wins, but in the playoffs they were defeated by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. On January 8, 2019 Jones and the Riders agreed to a new two-year contract extension.[11]

Cleveland Browns[edit]

On January 15, 2019, one week after signing a contract extension with the Roughriders, Jones resigned from the Roughriders to take a two-year contract with the Cleveland Browns as their Senior Defensive Specialist.[12] After one season, Jones was removed from the coaching staff with the hire of new head coach Kevin Stefanski and placed in an office position for the 2020 season.[13][14]

South Pittsburg High School[edit]

In April 2021, Jones was named the head coach of his high school Alma Mater, the South Pittsburg Pirates in Marion County, Tennessee.[15][16] He notably ended the school's nearly century-old rivalry game with neighboring Marion County High School for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, in part due to suspicions that a Marion County fan turned South Pittsburg in for recruiting violations during the 2020 season, resulting in South Pittsburg being placed on probation.[17] Jones resigned from the position on September 13 after coaching only one game, a win against Sequatchie County High School, in order to return to a defensive position with the Toronto Argonauts.[18]

Toronto Argonauts[edit]

On September 21, 2021, the Toronto Argonauts announced they had hired Chris Jones as a defensive consultant.[19]

Edmonton Elks[edit]

Two months after being hired by Toronto, on December 21, 2021, it was announced that Jones had returned to Edmonton to become the head coach and general manager of the renamed Edmonton Elks.[20] After a disappointing 2022 season in which the team won only four games and lost 14 the Elks lost their first six games of the 2023 season. With Jones on the hot-seat Elks owner Victor Cui reaffirmed his belief in Jones, and commented that any change to head coaching/general manager would impact the team's ops cap in future years.[21] The team lost three more games, beating the previous record for most consecutive winless games at the start of a season of seven. The team currently has a 0 wins and 9 losses record, and tied the team's all time record for losing streaks with 13 consecutive losses.

Personal life[edit]

Jones has a son from his first marriage and two daughters with his second wife.[citation needed]

CFL head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Result
EDM 2014 12 6 0 .666 2nd in West Division 1 1 Lost in West Final
EDM 2015 14 4 0 .778 1st in West Division 2 0 Won 103rd Grey Cup
SSK 2016 5 13 0 .278 5th in West Division Failed to qualify
SSK 2017 10 8 0 .556 4th in West Division 1 1 Lost in East Final
SSK 2018 12 6 0 .667 2nd in West Division 0 1 Lost in West Semi–Final
EDM 2022 4 14 0 .222 5th in West Division Failed to qualify
EDM 2023 0 9 0 .000 5th in West Division
Total 57 60 0 .487 1 Division
4 3 1 Grey Cup


  1. ^ Riders name Chris Jones general manager and head coach[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Stephen Hargis, "Former Chattanooga Football Player Named Head Coach in Canadian Football League Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine," Chattanooga Times Free Press, 27 November 2013.
  3. ^ Terry Jones, "Eskimos Head Coach Chris Jones Got His Start Through Tenacity and Outworking Everyone Else," Edmonton Sun, 13 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Former Riders head coach Chris Jones applies for South Pittsburg High School head coach job". 8 March 2021.
  5. ^ "South Pittsburg High's new football coach comes home after long pro football career".
  6. ^ "Edmonton Eskimos' Chris Jones named finalist for CFL coach of the year award".
  7. ^ "Chris Jones coy about rumours he's leaving Eskimos for Roughriders". Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  8. ^ "2016-09-10 Game Tracker - Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2322) -". Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  9. ^ "2017-11-19 Game Tracker - Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Toronto Argonauts (2454) -". Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  10. ^ "Riders extend head coach Jones thru 2019 - Article - TSN". TSN. 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  11. ^ "Chris Jones signs contract extension to stay with Riders until 2020". Regina Leader-Post. 2019-01-08. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  12. ^ "Browns hire Riders head coach/GM Jones -". 15 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Browns moving Chris Jones to front office role in Cleveland". 20 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Chris Jones not returning to Browns coaching staff -".
  15. ^ "Former Pro Coach Chris Jones returns home to South Pittsburg after 30 years". 3 April 2021.
  16. ^ "South Pitt alum Chris Jones takes dream job as new head football coach".
  17. ^ "Longtime South Pittsburg-Marion County high school football rivalry is over".
  18. ^ "Chris Jones steps down from head coaching position at South Pittsburg High School". 13 September 2021.
  19. ^ TSN ca Staff (2021-09-21). "Chris Jones CFL Toronto Argonauts -". TSN. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  20. ^ "Jones named Elks general manager and head coach". Edmonton Elks. December 21, 2021.
  21. ^ "Edmonton Elks Victor Cui on Chris Jones: Head coaching changes would impact Elks' ops cap". TSN. 2023-07-15. Retrieved 2023-07-19.

External links[edit]