South Jersey Football:
Saturday, February 12, 2000
By Kristi Clark
Sitting across from six-foot-four Rowan Hall of Famer, Mr. Felton Jones, it's hard to believe that he was ever challenged in sports.
"I'm what you call a late bloomer," he explains, settling back in his chair. "I went to college to play baseball. I could hit any ball, but I was only so-so in football. As I got better, I began to love football."
The Mt. Holly native was a graduate of Rancocas Valley High. After graduating, he enrolled at Glassboro State College (known today as Rowan University). While at college, he played JV football and varsity baseball, where he served as Captain.
By his senior year, he had finally bloomed. All his hard work had earned Jones a position on the varsity football squad. His skills improved so much that he was given the chance to try out for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.
"To this day, I'm still waiting for the Eagles to call me back," he laughs.
The following year he started teaching Physical Education at Edgewood and went back to Glassboro to work on his masters. He then began coaching his favorite sport, football, as the Assistant Receiver's Coach. Along with his knowledge of the game, he brought with him the importance of hard work. With the help of their assistant coach, the Rowan team has built a record of 70-12-1 over the last eight years. He has also helped to lead the squad to 5 National Championship games. He states that winning can only be associated with hard work. If you work hard, you will have success.
When asked what his coaching philosophy is, he quickly comments, "To win," he smiles, "I try to put players in the best situation to be successful. When they can respond to your coaching, you will get success."
The biggest difference between coaching high school and college sports, in Jones' opinion, is the level of competition. He carefully explains that the fourth string is just as talented as the first in college. What sets them apart is their determination and hard work.
Besides the importance of hard work, sports have taught Jones a valuable lesson about adversity. "I've learned to understand how to deal with winning and losing. In both cases, you have to understand what got you there," he pauses, then looks around the room. "I've learned to deal with adversity. Kids today can't deal with losing. But it's important because it makes you strive to be better."
This is the precise reason why he has encouraged his children to play sports. He credits football with teaching his son how to process the good and the bad. Basketball has done the same for his five year old daughter, as well as serving as an outlet for all her energy.
Jones knows that they will learn direction and life skills by hard work, and handling adversity by playing sports. These are the skills that can be carried into the classroom and into the game of life.
Photos by Boog Williams
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