While many longtime coaches and some new opened Fall season practices Wednesday, one such Winter season coach, boys basketball coach Bill Jones of Harford Tech, learned that he will not be back for a 14th season to lead the Cobras.
Jones, who won 165 games and led the Cobras to their first and only region title in 2017, was notified by email Wednesday morning. The decision was made by Tech Principal Joe Collins and newly appointed Athletic Director Emily Knowles.
“There is no personnel issue related to it so it’s not anything that Bill Jones has done that would be negative. I want to make that very clear,” Collins said by phone Wednesday. “The other part is that every coach has to reapply every year and whether you as a principal or a AD, choose to do that is really your choice, but every year, it’s a year-to-year contract. Bill is a part of that process, of reapplying for the job. So it’s not, like I said, it was not like Bill Jones did anything wrong. We just wanted to see who was out there and make him a part of that process himself. To reflect on what he’s done and what he’s doing to continue to be the best coach that he’s being.”
Jones acknowledged having a meeting with Collins and Knowles in late May about his position. “We had a meeting and shortly after that meeting they sent me an email saying that they were going to post the position and I was welcome to apply,” Jones said. “Since that time, went through two interviews, one with Knowles and then one with Knowles and Collins. I guess that was about two weeks ago and then they just sent out the email this morning saying that they thanked me for interviewing and they’ve decided to go with a different coach.”
Jones also says that he never reapplied for the position in his 13-year run.
Jones has thoughts that Collins may be seeking a coach who works in the school. “I work for the school system, but I’m not in the Harford Tech building, Jones said. “So, I can understand that, so you know, I guess it’s time to retire.”
Jones was simply disappointed with the news. “It’s disappointing, the school community, the teachers, the former administration, the parents...it’s been so much support over these 13 years, it’s been incredible,” Jones said. “I think some of the returning players are a little bit unsure of what’s going on. They’re anxious to see who the next coach in gonna be, but I think that we’ve set them up pretty well. They’re gonna have a successful year this year and many years after at Harford Tech.”
Jones confirmed that his assistant coaches, Paul Daniel and Mike Getz, will not return as well. “My JV coach also interviewed and he got the same email that I got,” Jones said. “I think they are totally distancing themselves from the previous staff.”
Collins just thinks it was time. “For a position that hadn’t been changed in a while, we chose to open it up and see who was out there and there are a lot of really good basketball coaching candidates,” he said. “It always helps when the team meets with success and Bill was a big part of it.”
Jones’ Tech teams have won four straight Section titles. “To get that email, it was pretty devastating, it was pretty upsetting because it’s just what I do, this is what I think I do best,” Jones said. “I didn’t want to go out on these terms, I was hoping to coach a couple more years and then retire and go off in the sunset and watch basketball as a fan.”
Collins reiterated, “Bill’s a great guy and he’s a part of the Harford Tech community and I don’t want anybody reading into, oh, this is because he got caught doing something and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports