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Dick Jones
The Centralia Sports Hall of Fame
2012 Veterans Award Winner


   As a Centralia High School senior, Dick Jones captured 3rd place in the 180yd. low hurdles at the 1954 IHSA State Track Meet.  He lowered his own school record to 19.9 in the preliminaries and ran a 20.0 in the finals.  His previous school records wre 21.1 (1952)and 20.5 (1953).

   To qualify for the state meet he placed 2nd in the District Meet at East St. Louis.  He also placed 3rd in the 120yd. high hurdles and teamed with Bill Norwood (HOF 1999), Robert Welch and Jon Bechtold to place 3rd in the mile relay.  At the South-Seven Conference Meet Jones won both the 180 low hurdles (21.4 in the rain) and 120 high hurdles (15.5).

   In 1953 Jones qualified for the State Meet in the low hurdles by setting his CHS record and District Meet record of 20.5.  He also teamed with Keith Kirkland, Leslie Renfro and Bechtold to lower the school record to 3:35 in the mile relay as they qualified for the State Meet by placing 2nd at the District Meet.  In the South Seven Conference he set a new meet record of 20.8 to capture the low hurdles, and he also placed 2nd in the high hurdles.  Jones combined with Bennie Campbell, Bruce Phillips and Bechtold to set a CHS record in the 480yd low hurdle shuttle at 57.2.

  Jones also qualified for the 1952 State Meet in the low hurdles by placing 2nd in the District Meet.  At the District Meet he hooked up with Kirkland, Charles Weathersby and Burl Chapman to win the mile relay in a school record time of 3:37.6.  This foursome also won the Conference Meet (3:39.2) and was undefeated on the season until reaching the state meet.  Jones was third in the conference low hurdles.

   He received four varsity track letters as the Orphans won conference titles each year.

   Jones was also a standout in other sports at CHS.  In football he played on teams that were 7-2 (1952) and 6-3-1 (1953).  His senior year he scored 11 touchdowns as he averaged 9.51 yards per carry in racking up 647 total yards and ran 14 kick returns for a total of 140 yards.

   Playing along side the likes of Bobby Joe Mason (HOF 1981), and George Marcum (HOF 1991), Jones played basketball for Jimmie Evers on teams that were 22-9 (1953) and 25-7 (1954).  Each year they lost to Pinckneyville in sectional playoff games.  Jones received the outstanding defensive award for 1954.

   In 1955 Jones was a member of Chuck Mundell's (HOF 1994) first Centralia Junior College basketball team (HOF 2005).  This team was ranked as high as tenth in the nation and finished 20-5.

   Jones became head basketball and track coach at Marion High School in 1963-64.  His 1965 basketball team, with players like Ray Fosse and Greg Starrick, made it to the elite eight at Champaign.  In 1967 Starrick was named First Team Parade All-American.  Jones was named South Seven Conference and Southern Illinois Coach of the Year.  

   He moved to Champaign Centennial High School as head basketball coach in 1969-70 and added head track coaching duties in 1971-72.  His 1972 basketball team won the school's first regional title, and the next season standout U.S. Davidson, achieved All-State status.  Individual track champions under Jones came from U.S. Davidson - high jump, Cindy Lawrence  - high jump; and Ben Beyers - 400 meters.  Jones relinquished his head coaching jobs in 1989, but stayed on assisting as girls' basketball coach until his retirement in 1994.



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