Southern loses Adrian Jones to NCCU; Robinson named coach
Southern High School football coach Adrian Jones, fresh off winning the school’s first state football championship, has resigned to accept a position as running backs coach at his alma mater, N.C. Central University.
Jones informed Southern’s staff, administration and players of his decision on Wednesday morning, but declined to comment on his future plans in an interview Wednesday night. He said he preferred to await an announcement by N.C. Central on that issue. NCCU reportedly will not announce any new staff additions until new coach Jerry Mack has completed the staff.
Upon learning of Jones’ decision, Southern principal Kenneth Barnes named Southern defensive coordinator and athletic director Darius Robinson to replace Jones as head coach Wednesday.
Robinson said he will continue as defensive coordinator at least for now and that the rest of Jones’ staff will remain intact including offensive coordinator Tony Creecy and special teams coordinator Ahmani Owens. Robinson said he will also retain his post as athletic director, a position he assumed in the fall.
Jones was pleased that Robinson had taken over for him, saying that’s the way the roadmap he originally laid out was supposed to work.
“It’s a great move for them (Southern),” Jones said. “When I came here, I said we’d build from the inside, not the outside, and lay a foundation of success. Coach Robinson is a big part of that foundation. And the plan is now for him to groom someone to eventually follow him.”
Robinson said he won’t change a thing when it comes to offensive and defensive schemes and philosophies and that the program will miss Jones.
“Mr. Barnes said he was concerned about the continuity of the staff and the foundation of the program (when he talked to Robinson about taking over),” Robinson said. “This program is all about the staff, the kids and the community together and we want to keep it that way. ... (Coach Jones) is a huge loss. You never want your leader to leave, but Coach Jones prepared us to succeed.”
Robinson, who has coached at Southern for eight seasons, the last seven under Jones, coached then-defensive back Jones at N.C. Central, where Robinson himself was an outside linebacker as an undergraduate before joining the coaching staff of NFL legend Larry Little for six seasons at NCCU.
A native of Fayetteville, Robinson played his high school ball at South View in Hope Mills before making the jump to N.C. Central. He played for coach Henry Lattimore at Central from 1985 through 1988 and was part of an NCAA Division II second-round playoff team during his time with the Eagles.
In addition to coaching with Little at the college level, Robinson served as an assistant coach at Hillside High School from 1999-2002 and took several years off from coaching before returning as an aide to then-Southern coach Jeff Parker for the 2006 season. He remained on staff when Jones left the NCCU staff in 2007 to return to Southern, his alma mater, as head coach.
Jones coached defensive backs at NCCU under former head coach Rod Broadway after Jones’ own playing days ended.
At Southern, Jones won the school’s first state football title in December, coaching the Spartans to a come-from-behind 38-31 state 3-AA title win over Shelby Crest at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.
The win capped a 14-2 season that included early losses to eventual state 4-A runner-up Laurinburg Scotland County and perennial state power and cross-town rival Hillside.
Southern otherwise escaped unscathed through a new Big Eight 3-A Conference that included 3-A heavyweights Orange, Cardinal Gibbons and Pittsboro Northwood as well as Chapel Hill, another state 3-AA playoff team.
The Spartans handed 3-A top 10-ranked Orange (12-2) its only two losses of the season.
According to MaxPreps.com, Jones completes his Southern career with a record of 59-27.
Offensively, Southern outscored its opponents by an average of 45.1 to 24.3 and averaged 486.2 yards per game total offense and returns its top four leading rushers and its top passer.
While senior 1,000-plus yard receivers Maurice Trowell (N.C. State recruit) and Derrick Mason (recruited by FCS and Division II programs) depart the Southern program along with two-way tackle Devonta Lynch, outside linebacker Noah Chase and defensive backs Kameron Johnson and Joshua Manns — who are all planning to play collegiately — Robinson will be able to call on the outstanding talents of rising senior quarterback Kendall Hinton, rising senior running back/return man William Cameron (West Virginia recruit), rising junior running back/receiver Jordan Brown and rising junior running back Toney Bass to build around on offense and presumably remain among the Big Eight Conference favorites this fall.
Jones said Wednesday that he fully expects the Spartans to contend for another state title in 2014.
Hinton, who holds scholarship offers from Duke, N.C. State and East Carolina, completed 219 of 339 pass attempts (65 percent) for 3,972 yards, 39 touchdowns and five interceptions, while averaging 18.14 yards per completion.
The dual-threat signal caller also led the team with 1,183 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns on 95 carries, 12.45 yards per carry.
Cameron caught 12 passes for 233 yards (19.4 per catch) and a touchdown and was the team’s second leading rusher with 819 yards on 85 carries (9.64 yards per carry) and scored 10 rushing touchdowns.
Brown caught 23 passes for 415 yards — 18 yards per catch — and three touchowns, while finishing third on the team in rushing with 89 carries for 753 yards (8.46 per carry) and 13 touchdowns.
Bass ran 80 times for 558 yards (6.98 per carry) and scored eight rushing touchdowns.
Jones led Southern to the state 4-A semifinals in 2007, his first year as Spartan head coach, and won it all this season, his seventh on the Southern sideline.
Jones said he’ll never forget his time at Southern.
“It’s been a great seven years of my life,” he said. “I love Southern Durham. I grew up there, I played there, I coached there and it’s my family. I’m happy we made history with Southern’s first state championship and I’ll have a smile on my face thinking of that every time I come back and step through the doors (at Southern).”
2013 NCHSAA 3-AA Championship Game
Dec. 15, 2013 at BB&T Field, Winston-Salem
SOUTHERN 38, SHELBY CREST 31
Southern 0 7 9 8 14 — 38
Crest 14 7 0 10 — 31
Crest — Tré Harbison 2 run (Alex Trejo kick), 8:24
Crest — Jalin Moore 3 run (Trejo kick), 4:42
Crest — Jalin Moore 1 run (Trejo kick), 4:08
Southern — Jason Henderson 11 pass from Kendall Hinton (Leonardo Orozco kick), 0:11
Southern — Maurice Trowell 42 pass from Kendall Hinton (Orozco kick), 5:11
Southern — Safety, Alex Trejo recovers bad punt snap out of end zone, 3:04
Southern — Toney Bass 6 run (Jordan Brown pass from Kendall Hinton), 11:31
Crest — Tré Harbison 12 run (Trejo kick), 6:53
Southern — Maurice Trowell 32 pass from Kendall Hinton (Kick blocked), 5:41
Crest — FG Alex Trejo 40, 1:08
Southern — Jordan Brown 80 pass from Kendall Hinton (Maurice Trowell pass from Hinton), 0:57
RUSHING — Southern, Kendall Hinton 12-47, Jordan Brown 10-44, Toney Bass 3-8, Derrick Mason 1-(minus 9). Crest, Jalin Moore 30-183, Tré Harbison 21-128, P.J. Brooks 12-32, Team 2-(minus 30).
PASSING — Southern, Kendall Hinton 17-25-0 332, Derrick Mason 0-1-0 0. Crest, P.J. Brooks 4-5-1 31, Jordan Oates 0-1-0 0, Jalin Moore 1-1-0 8.
RECEIVING — Southern, Maurice Trowell 8-198, Jordan Brown 5-113, Jason Henderson 2-12, Kerry Ivory 1-5, Derrick Mason 1-4. Crest, Jordan Oates 2-24, P.J. Brooks 1-8, Quentin Thompson 1-7, Tré Harbison 1-0.
Records — NCHSAA 3-AA champion Southern 14-2, NCHSAA 3-AA runner-up Crest 14-2.