Chris Jones doesn't like to look any further than the task at hand. Whether it's a film session, practice time or game itself, he tries to tell his team that it will only be as good as it can be in the time frame. Step-by-step, Jones has Windsor on the hunt for a second state championship in three years. The Wizards are 8-1 on the year and with an overtime win over Skyline on Friday night, clinched the Class 4A Northern League championship. The Wizards currently sit at No. 2 in the 4A RPI, and a win over Fort Collins on Friday will go a long way in making sure they have a shot at returning to Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Their last time there, they beat Loveland 35-14 to win a state title. But that's not all Jones is about. He wants to make sure that he has positive impact on his players. He wants them to grow as much off the field as they do on it. Jones is this week's Denver Broncos High School Coach of the Week. The Broncos coach of the week is selected in partnership with the Broncos, CHSCA, and the InSideOut Coaching Initiative, which seeks to transform the current win-at-all-costs sports culture.
Years as head coach: 15 (88-72 overall)
Years at Windsor: 10 (81-29)
Previous stops: Ocean City High School (New Jersey) assistant coach (1988-89), Thompson Valley head coach (1997-2001), Mountain View assistant coach (2002-2005), Windsor head coach (2007-present)
Q: Why did you get into coaching?
Jones: You know, that's a tough one sometimes. I feel like it's an opportunity to take a sport and stretch its boundaries to life. Especially for young people who possibly struggle with confidence or a challenge, and (sports) help empower those kids to become risk-takers and to improve self-confidence and self-esteem.
Q: Why do you coach the way that you coach?
Jones: I had some interesting coaches in high school and college. I thought it was a different way to get your point across to kids than the way I was taught. But that was in the late 70's, early 80's. I coach that way because I feel it's a great way to give stuff to kids that they can give to others.
Q: What do you think it's like for your kids to be coached by you?
Jones: I'd like to think that when they leave our program, they mattered to me and to my staff.
Q: What are some of your favorite coaching memories?
Jones: There's been a couple of state championships, which have been great. We've also had 10 years in a row with a team GPA above 3.00. Some great memories looking at Sky High Hook camp in the summer. It's a subsidiary of the Ronald McDonald House and it's a one-day field day we do for adolescent cancer survivors and their siblings.
Q: Let's go back to Friday and when things went into overtime, I know you want to be on the defensive side of the ball first, so when Skyline got into the end zone, if you were in their position would you have gone for two?
Jones: I thought that right away. We knew they were going for two. We would've gone for two.
Q: For your boys to come out with that win, with that kind of adversity this late in the season, is that something that can get them in the right frame of mind for the playoffs?
Jones: Yeah. And we talked last week about the 2017 season as a book that each individual writes one page as how they've grown as an individual academically, socially, with their family and on the football field. A lot of guys wrote some really neat memories and moments on Friday night that they'll be able to look back upon to gain some experience as we move forward and these weeks get tougher.
Q: Do you use references like the 2015 state championship to help motivate them this time of year?
Jones: We talk about tradition here, and some expectations on and off the field weekly. We kind of do a weekly sermon that we carry over for five straight days heading into the game. We try to always stress to the kids that we're only as good as today's film session or we're as good as today's practice.
We try not to look past the 24 hours that we've been given.
Story credit: Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com
Photo credit: Steve Oathout