Kids are so much faster now, said Jones, 77. Thats whats happened to the high school game.
If youve been to a football or basketball game in the South Sound area in the past 40 years, Jones has had something to do with it whether it was coaching, officiating or game assigning. He retired last year 41 years with the Olympia-based South Sound Officials Association, and 35 years as the associations game assigning secretary.
For his long-tenured service in the community as a referee and a coach, Olympia High School will honor Jones prior to Olympias season-opening football game Friday night against nationally ranked Lake Oswego (Ore.), the defending Oregon 6A state champions at Ingersoll Stadium. Kick-off for Fridays game will be at 7 p.m.
Jones career in zebra stripes started in the mid-1960s when he helped out his brother-in-law officiate a boys basketball game at Olympias Jefferson Middle School. Soon after, he began officiating both basketball and football that lasted more than 40 years and helped spearhead South Sound Officials Association in the early 70s. The final football game Jones officiated was in 2010.
In addition to officiating, he also was Olympias fastpitch coach for 14 seasons and retired in 2007. In 2009, he was inducted into the Washington Officials Associations Hall of Fame, but being honored at the local level means more to Jones, he said.
This is a local thing, so it makes it more nicer than something at the state level, said Jones, whose son, Tom Jones II, has been a basketball official in the area for 33 years.
Terry Simmonds, who has been with SSOA since 1972 and recently took over as game assigner for Jones in April, said high school officials not working Friday night will be in attendance and in full officials uniforms to help honor Jones. Simmonds also said 100 ceremonial coins have been made, which feature Jones on one side and the South Sound Officials Association on the other side. Jones will do the ceremonial coin toss and former longtime KGY radio play-by-play broadcaster Dick Nichols will emcee the pre-game event.
He has done so much for not only our officials in our association, but with the state, Simmonds said of Jones. He has mentored people to be better officials and to help our association be the best it can be.
Jones son, Tom Jones II, has been an area basketball official for 33 years. He said his father made whatever it took to make sure the best quality of officials were there at games, even if that meant his father filling in on games nights.
The affect of what hes reached out to people is even mind-boggling to his son, Jones II said. Hes always been my mentor. Its going to be really exciting to see the outpouring of people.
It part of a big day planned at Ingersoll Stadium. The day begins at 3 p.m. with the Olympia/Lake Oswego junior-varsity game, followed by the varsity game between Olympia and Lake Oswego. The Lakers, coached by former Oregon State wide receiver Steve Coury, are the defending Oregon 6A state champions who finished last season ranked No. 23 in the ESPN/Powerade Fab 50 national power rankings. There also will be a barbeque after the varsity game.
Olympia coach Bill Beattie said its a good time for not only the Bears coaching staff, but his players to understand what it takes to get to a program to a national level.
We want our kids to be exposed to that, Beattie said. They need to be able to chat with kids who have been at that level before. We know everyone around here, but to have a chance to be with a team thats nationally ranked, its going to be exciting for our kids.
2012 SEASON KICKS OFF THURSDAY
Two-a-days are complete, rosters are set and game plans are installed.
While the majority of South Sound teams kick off Friday, Capital begins its season Thursday on the road against Class 4A Newport at 7 p.m. at Newport High School in Bellevue.
Its the first game of a tough nonleague schedule for the Cougars, who dropped down to Class 2A and also face 4A foes Olympia, Bellarmine and Bothell. And sandwiched in-between is its 2A Evergreen Conference opener Sept. 22 against two-time EvCo champion Tumwater.
Capital and Newport have previously never faced each other in football. In fact, the last time Newport faced a team from Thurston County was in 1993 when Tumwater defeated Newport, 31-30, in double overtime in the AAA state semifinals. The Knights went 4-5 in 2011 and feature senior quarterback Isaac Dotson (6-foot-3, 210 pounds), who gave a verbal commitment to Nevada in June. As a junior, Dotson threw for 1,073 yards and rushed for 741 yards in Newports triple-option offense.
Capital, fresh of its 3A state quarterfinal appearance in 2011, has a wealth of experience returning on both sides of the ball. Senior running back Kai Van Sickle rushed for 1,903 yards and scored 15 touchdowns as a junior.
Capital-Newport game updates: Can't make it to Bellevue to watch Capital and Newport? The Olympian's Meg Wochnick will be at Newport High School for the game. Get in-game updates from her via Twitter -- follow @MegWochnick