HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Hoosick Falls community is in mourning tonight. Longtime head football coach Ron Jones died suddenly Monday afternoon of a heart attack in his home.
Jones is the all-time winningest coach in program history. He began coaching at his alma mater in 1998. Between 2009 and 2014, he led the Panthers to a record six straight Section 2 Class C championships, and took home the state title in 2012.
Jones was also a physical education teacher at the elementary school. Hoosick Falls Athletic Director Tom Husser characterized the community as being in a “state of shock”.
“Anybody who played for Coach Jones in the past 20 years could probably talk to you for two hours about him and would all have a Coach Jones story,” Husser said, describing Jones as a man who was respected by everybody he encountered, especially his players.
“To me personally, he was more than a coach, he was like a father figure” said former player Evan Hand, who was on the 2012 state championship team. “He just knew what to say and how to say it… He taught so many lessons outside of football that stuck with me today.”
“He was everybody’s friend,” said Husser, who mentioned the school will find a way to honor the late coach, though there are no plans in place currently.
Jones had friends throughout the local coaching community, including two he went to college with at SUNY Cortland. Both Pat Lilac, the Glens Falls head coach, and Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell shared some thoughts through text message.
Lilac, who lived with Jones both in college and while the two coached together at Norwich University, said this:
“It’s really heartbreaking. Ron was way more than a gifted coach. He was a tremendous friend and person. On top of that he was a really great family man and a really proud dad. he was also the one who kept our group of friends from Cortland connected, always reaching out to all of us and organizing things to get us together… He always did the right things and he was always there for you when you needed someone to talk to. He was truly one of the good guys.”
Shell, his former teammate echoed those sentiments:
“He was a great man. I know that is a broad statement, but he was everything that was good. He loved his family. His players. And he loved to coach. He will be missed, terribly.”
As news of his passing reverberated throughout the Capital Region, reaction followed on social media.