In April, Chris Jones said that getting the South Pittsburg football job was his dream job.

That dream job lasted just six months. 

Jones, a 1985 South Pittsburg graduate whose coaching career has included high school, college and professional experience, has resigned as the South Pittsburg head football coach to become the defensive coordinator for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

“South Pittsburg High school football has a strong tradition and will continue to work toward that no matter who is at the helm,” Marion County Superintendent of Schools Mark Griffith said. “I truly hate it for the kids, but no one person is a team - it takes everyone,” 

Jones, 53, was hired to replace longtime Pirates coach Vic Grider, who retired after last season and is now coaching down at Coahulla Creek in Georgia.

The school has announced that Heath Grider and Wes Stone will lead the program for the rest of the season.

The Pirates won three Class 1A state titles under Grider (1999, 2007 and 2010) and finished as the runner-up in 2011 and 2020. 

The Pirates went 13-2 last season and were upset by Fayetteville 20-14 in the BlueCross Bowl.

This season was Jones’ first season as head coach at the high school level. The Pirates (1-0) have only played one game so far in 2021.

Jones started his coaching career at nearby North Jackson (Alabama) as an assistant and helped the Chiefs win a state title in 1993. 

Jones was previously a graduate assistant at both Tennessee Tech (1995-96) and Alabama (1997) before becoming the defensive line coach at UT-Martin in 1998.

He then spent three seasons as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Tennessee Tech (1999-2001).

Jones then moved north of the border for the Canadian Football League and held numerous coaching positions for five different franchises during a 17-year career (2002-18).

Jones started as the defensive line coach with the Montreal Alouettes in 2002 then was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2003 and served in that capacity until 2007.

He then went to the Calgary Stampeders as their defensive coordinator for three years (2008-10) and then was promoted to assistant head coach and assistant Director of Player Personnel for two years (2010-11).

He then went to the Toronto Argonauts in 2012 before getting his first CFL head coaching job with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2014.

The Eskimos won the Grey Cup in 2015. Jones won four total Grey Cups, including three as an assistant coach in 2002, 2008 and 2012.

Jones then got his second head coaching job in 2016 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and served as the head coach and general manager until 2018. He had an overall record of 53-37.

He was then hired as an assistant on defense with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in 2019 before being hired at South Pittsburg.

Contact Donovan at and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew

Donovan Stewart is entering his 26th season covering high school football and his 10th year of covering the entire state of Tennessee. He is also the Media Director for the Tennessee Football Coaches Association (TnFCA).

Recommended for you