NCHSAA Heritage: Paul Jones

Throughout the course of the 2008-2009 academic year, we will seek to recognize some of the great names of the past to highlight the heritage of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in honor of the Association’s 95th anniversary. In this edition we are pleased to recognize the late Paul Jones of Kinston, who died on Thursday morning at the age of 76 after a lengthy illness.

Paul Jones, winning basketball teams and Kinston became synonymous during this oustanding coach’s career.

Born in Thomasville and a 1955 graduate of East Carolina, Jones coached from 1957 through 1995 at Grainger and Kinston High Schools, rolling up 662 victories against 274 defeats. That 38-season stint included 18 conference championships, two NCHSAA state titles and four state runner-up finishes. Some 42 of his players went on to play college basketball, including three in the NBA, including such notables as Jerry Stackhouse, Cedric “Cornbread’ Maxwell and Charles Shackleford.

Jones also coached baseball for 15 years, compiling a 184-88 mark and winning six league titles to go with a state championship in that sport. After leaving Kinston, he also served primarily as an assistant coach at Greene Central and Ayden-Grifton.

He was a member of the first Board of Directors of the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association and also served on the Board of the North Carolina Coaches Association.

Paul was inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in the class of 1999-2000.

Charlie Adams, executive director of the NCHSAA, noted in Paul’s passing that “Paul Jones was one of the finest basketball coaches the state of North Carolina has ever produced. But more importantly, he was a gentleman, a wonderful person and a long-time friend.

“I always enjoyed watching him coach because that is what he did– he coached. He was not sidetracked by anything. His teams were always very well-prepared and great fundamentally. But in terms of coaching, he was certainly the total package and it just didn’t get any better than Paul Jones.”