E.A. Sports Today

JSU’s Jones tabbed for AHSAA officials’ post

Long-time game official named to oversee state high school association’s officials

Mark Jones, a long-time game official in Northeast Alabama, is the new AHSAA director of officials. (Photo by AHSAA)

Mark Jones, a long-time game official in Northeast Alabama, is the new AHSAA director of officials. (Photo by AHSAA)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY – Wherever there was a high school game in Northeast Alabama, chances are Mark Jones was somewhere in the vicinity. Now, he’s taking his expertise to the statewide level.

The Guntersville grad and long-time Jacksonville State staffer has been named the Alabama High School Athletics Association’s new supervisor of officials, AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese announced Saturday.

Jones replaces retiring Greg Brewer, who steps down Aug. 31. He joins the AHSAA staff July 25.

“It’s really a dream job for me,” Jones said. “This has been pretty much my whole life.”

No sooner had the news of his appointment been announced than Brewer reached him by phone shortly before the start of Saturday night’s Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

“He said come Sept. 1 it’s all yours,” Jones said. “I’ll get to work five weeks with him and that’s going to be great for me.

“You can question a lot of people, like those Monday Morning Quarterbacks do, but until you’re in those shoes and actually know the ins and out about it, you really don’t know. So that’s going to be great for me to find out some things before he gets out of there to really understand why some things are the way they are when you think they should be different.”

Jones has been the director of recreational sports at Jacksonville State the last 32 years, a Jacksonville city councilman since 2008 and a founding member of the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame.

He has been a contest official for more than 30 years, working high school basketball, football and baseball as well as college women’s basketball.

He has been the AHSAA East-Central District football director of officials since 2007 and the founder of the Mt. Cheaha Basketball Officials Association. He served as president and assignor for the East Alabama Basketball Officials Association and has been an AHSAA state football camp instructor for 14 years.

He taught sports officiating classes at JSU for 28 years in multiple sports and served as Northeast Regional basketball tournament coordinator for the AHSAA since its inception in 1994. He called the number of officials calling games in the SEC, NBA and NFL who have taken his officiating classes one of his proudest accomplishments.

“This is going to be a great challenge,” he said. “I think Greg Brewer set the standard high. Alabama is well recognized for its officiating and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’ve got a huge learning curve ahead of me, just learning officials (and) being proficient in the rules in all sports. I feel real comfortable in four or five (sports) now, but learning them all, that’s going to be a task.”

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