Vols Coach Butch Jones’ son’s dream of playing football comes true, despite heart condition

Alex Jones is a kicker on the Knoxville Catholic varsity football team.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – There is no shortage of Butch Jones supporters in Knoxville as the head football coach for the University of Tennessee. Perhaps his biggest fan has spent much of his life right at Jones’ side, but this season, their relationship has taken on a new dimension.

Alex Jones is a kicker on the Knoxville Catholic varsity football team.

“Second week of the season I got my name called and it’s just been history ever since,” he said.

Doctors told Alex Jones in seventh grade he couldn't play contact sports due to a heart condition, but was eventually told he could kick.
Doctors told Alex Jones in seventh grade he couldn’t play contact sports due to a heart condition, but was eventually told he could kick.

Alex is in just his first year playing football in high school, and as a senior, it’s also his last.

Due to a heart condition, doctors told Alex to stop playing contact sports in seventh grade, eventually asking him to quit all sports.

“I struggled just because I knew how much he wanted to be a part of it,” said his mom Barb Jones.

"It's awesome. I'd never felt that before - the Friday night lights that everyone talks about," said Alex Jones.
“It’s awesome. I’d never felt that before – the Friday night lights that everyone talks about,” said Alex Jones.

“I hurt. I hurt for him, Barb hurt, but he was the one who was probably the most mature about it and kept it in perspective moving forward,” said Butch Jones.

“The nurse came in and said, ‘Wow, you really handled this well. Everybody else that does this usually cries or something,'” said Alex.

That mental toughness may be hereditary. This season, the son of a football coach finally got the chance to be a player.

Normally, more stress is a bad thing but this football season, it's been just what the Jones family needed.
Normally, more stress is a bad thing but this football season, it’s been just what the Jones family needed.

“He could have gone along and continued doing what the doctors told him he could do and he kept asking questions and he wanted to do something, so finally the doctor said, ‘Yes, you can kick,'” said Barb Jones.

“It’s awesome. I’d never felt that before – the Friday night lights that everyone talks about,” said Alex.

“And for me, I’ve been giddy about it because I’ve finally got a chance to be a dad, to finally be a parent, to finally have a son out there,” said Coach Jones.

“I will say that during our kids’ games, he sits back and takes it all in,” said Barb Jones.

“I like to just be a dad and just watch,” said Coach Jones.

It helps that Barb Jones worries enough for the both of them.

"I like to just be a dad and just watch," said Coach Butch Jones.
“I like to just be a dad and just watch,” said Coach Butch Jones.

“I’m a nervous wreck and I just don’t need any more stress,” she said.

“Every football season adds about 10 years to your life,” the coach said.

Normally, more stress is a bad thing but this football season, it’s been just what the Jones family needed.

“It’s emotional to see him, but I think the camaraderie the he has with the players is special to me as a mom and the wife of a football coach to see your son doing that,” said Barb Jones.

“I guess it’s just kind of a blessing, because you look back and think how great this year has been, just your one year of high school football, and it’s been perfect,” said Alex.

Though it is his senior year, Alex does not plan on this being his last season of football altogether.

He will be attending the University of Tennessee next year and hopes to walk on to the football team. After college, not surprisingly, Alex hopes to become a coach like his dad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s