After 12 consecutive years working under the San Diego Unified School District, Madison High School’s former football assistant coach Aaron Jones has been hired to fill Bonita Vista High School’s football head coaching vacancy on March 29.
For the past seven years, Jones taught and coached at MHS while living in Bonita. According to Jones, obtaining this position would allow to bring in a new energy to the department through hiring new staff.
“I saw it as an opportunity to get closer to the community where I reside and as an opportunity for me to run my own program,” Jones said. “This isn’t a stepping stone to another job or just to get experience. I live in the community so I don’t see myself leaving this area.”
Jones was committed to developing the football program at Madison High School during his time as an assistant coach. Jones’ coaching helped lead the team towards nine league championships and three California Interscholastic Federation championships.
“I feel like I have a blueprint of the sport and know how it is done. It is about time for me to get out of the backgrounds and take over. This is an opportunity to build a program in a way it has never been built,” Jones said.
After former head-football coach Chris Thompson’s retirement, the position was posted on various job websites and received multiple responses from coaches from in-state and out of state. Assistant principal Ronne Pietila oversaw the process and conducted multiple interviews with applicants.
“You need a lot of experience to become a high school varsity football coach. Jones was working under a very successful coach at Madison which showed to me that he learned a lot from somebody who is very knowledgeable in football,” Pietila said. “[When hiring], I think about what coach I would like for my sons. These coaches spend a lot of time with the kids and can oftentimes be with them more than their own parents.”
On April 12, Jones held his first football meeting with BVH football athletes across all grade levels was held as an introductory session and to discuss the upcoming season. Over 90 students attended and were introduced to different coaching styles they might encounter in the following season.
“He looks like he is a very good coach if I’m going to be honest. The upcoming season [should] be better. He looks like he knows what he is doing. I think he’s going to be hard on us on the field,” freshman and football wide receiver Alex Machado said.
Jones believes that mental preparation plays a big role in strengthening an athlete’s performance. One way that this is done is through film study in order to observe the opponent’s strategies through a computer system called Huddle. Such system allows for scouting other team’s games which is ultimately used to tag plays and develop a game strategy against the opponents.
“My job is to get the student athletes and my coaching staff in the right place and in the right time in order to get the right plays. Everything else is on them. I want them to be prepared mentally, physically and emotionally ready to play the game,” Jones said. “[These athletes] are teenagers and do teenager things. I know athletes will not be perfect and I never expect perfection but I do expect their very best,” Jones said.
A series of interviews are being held in search of new assistant coaches throughout San Diego in order to develop a new “flavor” to BVH football. Four of the 22 assistant coaches from last season’s staff will remain on Jones’ coaching staff. According to Jones, loyalty is more of a requirement rather than an asset when forming a tight-knit staff.
“I’ve been diligently putting together a coaching staff because that is the most important thing. I am just one person but a head coach is only as good as the people around him. I’ve been in contact and working hard to bring in new coaches and keeping a few from last year to get a nice mix of people who I can trust and who are here for the right motives,” Jones said.
Jones plans to make multiple adjustments stylistically and strategically within the football program at BVH.
“I am in it for the long haul. I’m trying to build a program. When people think of South Bay football, I want the first thing that comes to mind is Bonita Vista High School. I want to put us on the map in that regard and make us the powerhouse of the county. It’s in a great location and this area is hungry down here. They want something different, they want something new,” Jones said. “A lot of coaches have made a memorable impact in my life when I was in highschool. If it wasn’t for athletics period, then I don’t know where I would’ve been at now. I just want to give back what I was given.”