CHESAPEAKE, VA (WTKR)- Joe Jones is coming home... sort of.
The Chesapeake native is taking over as Grassfield's head football coach, just down the road from where he played his high school football at Oscar Smith.
"Just being able to get back to Chesapeake and knowing what potential is here at Grassfield, I'm definitely excited to be here," Jones said. "It's a big school, a lot of kids walking around the halls, a lot of potential athletes and I think the community support and the [administrative] support is huge right now."
Jones takes over a Grizzlies program that hasn't had a winning season since 2016 and finished 1-9 last season. Still, the program saw success under Martin Asprey, whom Jones succeeds at the head of the team, becoming just the second head coach in the program's history. Grassfield has made 11 postseason appearances since its first season in 2007.
"I have the greatest respect for Coach Asprey," added Jones. "He was one of my middle school wrestling coaches back in the day and having the opportunity to put my stamp on things and make things my own and hopefully build on what he started here and try to get this program to the next level I think is huge."
A player at Oscar Smith, Jones was a standout linebacker for the Tigers and later joined the team as an assistant coach. While there he learned the winning ways of that program and hopes he can bring some of that same mentality across the city to his new home.
"When it comes to football, everybody does the same stuff. Football isn't different where you go," he pointed out. "What's different is how you approach everything and I think that's what separated us during my playing days, just our approach to the game and how we went about our business and that's something I want to bring here."
The new head of the Grizzlies spent the last three years as the head coach at Lakeland in neighboring Suffolk, his first head coaching gig. So how did that help prepare him for his next chapter?
"Every aspect of being a head coach, from finances to budgeting, purchasing and just human resources, if you will," he said of his time leading the Cavaliers. "I learned a great deal from the [athletic director] over there, Coach (Gregory) Rountree and I just want to take all of that stuff that I learned from there and my years at Oscar Smith and bring it here to Grassfield and get what we can get."