Former Vol assistant and interim head coach Tony Jones will apparently be sticking around the Knoxville area: Alcoa High School will hire him as its next head basketball coach as early as tomorrow, according to sources within Alcoa City Schools (my alma mater, full disclosure), and now also reported by Austin Price of VolQuest.
Alcoa is a football powerhouse, winners of seven straight state championships. The basketball program hasn't been as successful, but has plenty of potential. It's an interesting hire - Jones, who spent eight games as the head man on Tennessee's bench last season, certainly didn't envision himself on a high school sideline for the 2011-12 season. Many of Pearl's other assistants have taken jobs in lower collegiate levels, but Jones - who received the stiffest recruiting penalties after Pearl when the Vols self-imposed sanctions - has apparently chosen to go this route.
If you were to read anything into this, you might wonder if Jones is taking this job because he has no other options in the college game, and/or if the NCAA hammer is going to be so heavy against him (and then even more, of course, on Bruce Pearl) that he's reading the writing on the wall and knows no college program would be able to hire him. But that wouldn't keep him from working in the NBA on any level, even in scouting.
And for those that care, I do think this is a good thing for Alcoa's basketball program - as someone who believes in second chances and argued passionately that the Vols should keep Pearl in the face of anything less than a multi-year suspension, the same logic applies to Jones in this situation. Bruce Pearl has stayed in the Knoxville area and continues to support the Vols in public, and now TJonesLive will be keeping it real in Blount County.