By Joe Slye
Kennedy Catholic Promotes Assistant Pat Jones to Head Football Coach.
The Kennedy Catholic Lancers have announced that the current assistant coach, Pat Jones, has been promoted to the head football coach position. Jones replaces Sheldon Cross, who departed in January for the Offensive Coordinator position at Cal Poly University in San Louis Obispo, CA. In the seven years Cross was head coach, the team compiled 55 wins, four straight 4A NPSL championships, and ended last season as runner-up for the 4A State Championship. Pat Jones played a vital role in this success.
Jones has been on the Lancer football staff since the 2019 season. He has served as an offensive line coach, run game coordinator, and special team coordinator in his four seasons. For the 2020 season, Jones was honored as the NPSL Assistant Coach of the Year. The Kennedy Catholic-run to the 2022 State Championship finals gained momentum when Jones arrived. Jones has a 41-year coaching career; 27 of those years are spread over two tenures at the powerhouse Bellevue High School program. Jones was tasked with revamping the Kennedy Catholic-run game to meld with the Air Raid passing attack. He combined aspects of the Bellevue run-dominated offense to the Lancer passing game, and four years later, the Lancers were in the State Championship game.
It seems that when a Kennedy Catholic head football coach leaves, there are big shoes to be filled. Jones will become just the fifth Head Football Coach in the 55-year history of the school. Jones is liked by the players and will be able to add continuity by maintaining parts of the current program that match his philosophy and style of play. This should be a great fit for the Lancers. “He comes with a long history of creating strong programs, winning teams, and promoting individual excellence on and off the field,” said Kennedy Catholic President Matthew Mohs. Jones brings a resume of success over his past four years with the Kennedy Catholic team and the 13 State Championship appearances he helped secure while with the Bellevue High School team.
Pat Jones began coaching high school football at Bellevue from 1982-1994, moved to Sultan in 1995, then to Sammamish from 1996-2001, then back to Bellevue from 2002-2015. He sat out three years and now is at Kennedy Catholic from 2019 to the present. He was sitting out because he was involved in the Bellevue School District and WIAA investigation of the Bellevue High School program from 2015 to 2017. We don’t want to rehash all that transpired, but Jones was part of the Bellevue High School program that won many games and championships and then was investigated and accused of a number of things. Jones and Head Coach Butch Goncharoff were dismissed from their coaching jobs in 2016, handed four-year suspensions; the team was banned from post-season play.
People remember the accusations; the final outcome of it all is a bit fuzzy to the average fan. The Bellevue program has moved forward from most of the commotion but has been left with a clouded reputation. Coaches, players, and families filed lawsuits against the school district and the WIAA. Lawsuits were filed, dismissed, arbitrated, and settlements were reached. The suspensions and playoff bans were reduced, and the arbitrator ruled that the school district’s investigation was “a ruse,” requiring the district to pay arbitration costs. (This is the short version.) The long version is an interesting story that Pat Jones has been telling in a book series called “Did the Truth Even Matter?”. Jones disagreed with most of the investigation’s findings and has spent his own time and energy fighting back. (The book series flowed out of thousands of pages of documents Jones compiled to refute the investigators’ accusations.)
Jones wants to tell the side of the story he says the investigators ignored. He calls it “the truth.” The book series is very much at odds with what the local newspapers reported at the time. The book website is: didthetruthevenmatter.com. If you dig into the website, check out the “Message to my players” written by Jones, which gives a quick-read summary of what Jones and the Bellevue High School football program went through during the investigations. The battles with the Bellevue School District and the WIAA have wound down, and Jones’ career has moved on. He is hopeful the books will temper the talk about all that was wrongfully perceived regarding the Bellevue football program.
Jones was born in the Beacon Hill area; his family settled in Bellevue, the city where he still resides. He married his wife, Marianne, in 1989. They have eight children. The youngest is a sophomore at Kennedy Catholic and plays football for his dad. Jones believes players should be recognized for their accomplishments, hard work, and the legacy they help build (their hours in the weight room, at practice, and the game effort to earn what they accomplish). A favorite quote from J.J. Watt Jones likes states: “Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and rent is due every day.” Jones wants his players to understand that success is not a “given” and that they are not entitled to anything! It is a lot easier to lower the bar than it is to do the work required to raise it. “It is an honor to be named head coach of Kennedy Catholic Football… I am blessed to have the opportunity to continue the legacy of the coaches before me,” Jones commented on his promotion to the Head Coach position.