Joseph “Red” Jones

About This Inductee

Red was a standout high school basketball player at Harter High School, West Nanticoke, PA.  He was a three-year starter and was the team captain in his junior and senior years. Harter won the league championship in 1954 and 1956.  During his senior year, Red averaged 28 points per game.  He also played high school baseball and was a three-year starter as well.  Red was the varsity basketball coach at St Vincent’s High School in Plymouth, PA for seven seasons and was the winningest coach in the school’s history. He coached from the 1963-64 season to the 1969-70 season when the school closed. During this time, his teams were 112-27 (a winning percentage of 81%) and won the very competitive Catholic League Championship in 1964, 1966, 1967 and 1968 and were the Class C champs five times. He is equally proud that his teams won four Wyoming Valley Official’s Sportsmanship Awards.  It can be noted that his 1966 team lost in a playoff game to the eventual state champs, St. Gabe’s of Hazleton, coached by Digger Phelps. He and Digger are still friends.  During those seven years, the highest enrollment of boys in all four grades of the high school was just 49.  An article at the time of the school’s closing said, “With the closing of St. Vincent’s High School, it also brings down the curtain on one of the more brilliant coaching careers in Wyoming Valley basketball history.”  The article also said, “Red did not graduate from college, but this didn’t keep him from gaining the reputation as one of the finest basketball coaches in the state.”  He spent many years with Jim Atherton and others, running basketball clinics at Camp St. Andrews during the 60’s and early 70’s.  After St.  Vincent’s closed, the PIAA rules at the time stated that you needed to be a teacher to coach at the varsity level and he was forced out of high school coaching.  He was a central figure at the state level in lobbying efforts to get that rule changed.  He coached at St Pius X Seminary in 1971-72 and was the head coach at College Misericordia in 1982 and 1983. He mentored many up and coming coaches during the 70’s and 80’s.  Red is now retired but was a dedicated school board member at Lake Lehman from 1981 to 1995 and served one term as a Luzerne County Commissioner from 1996-2000. For the past 20 years, Lake Lehman still offers the Joseph “Red” Jones Award at its graduation in recognition of a deserving student for character and citizenship.  Red has been associated with a long list of charitable and civic causes throughout his career and as one of the region’s best Square Dance Callers, he helped raise a lot of money for charity.  Red and his late wife Marie have four children:  Nancy, Bill, Linda and Bobby and four grandchildren.