Brian Jones has been a member of Gary Pinkel’s coaching staff since 1992. He has coached an excellent running game for the last 20 seasons, after initially coaching wide receivers from 1992-94.
While Mizzou’s spread offense has a reputation as a wide-open attack, Jones has helped produce a very productive run game which has resulted in 1,000-yard rushing seasons by Tiger tailbacks in seven of the last 10 years. Current senior TB Russell Hansbrough finished the 2014 season with 1,084 yards on the ground and he and Marcus Murphy combined to give the Tigers a dynamic 1-2 punch which combined for 2,008 yards, 14 touchdowns and an average of 5.3 yards a carry. Murphy was named 1st-team All-SEC all-purpose back in 2014.
Jones oversaw a potent trio of backs in 2013 that guided Mizzou to a national rank of 16th in rushing, averaging 237.4 yards per game. Jones’ three-headed monster was led by junior Henry Josey, who was one of the top comeback stories in all of college football last year. After missing all of 2012 with a severe knee injury suffered late in the 2011 season, Josey returned last season to gain 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging a salty 6.7 yards per carry. He became only the second running back in Mizzou history to achieve two 1,000-yard rushing seasons (Tony Temple is the other).
Giving the Tigers a great 2-3 punch were junior Marcus Murphy and sophomore Russell Hansbrough. Murphy gained 601 yards and ran for 9 TDs, while Hansbrough posted 685 yards and 4 scores of his own.
The 2012 season was more of the same, as senior Kendial Lawrence worked behind an offensive line wracked with injuries, but still managed to turn out a 1,025-yard and 12-touchdown season. Lawrence ranked 6th in the Southeastern Conference in rushing.
In 2011, Jones oversaw the transformation of the Tiger offensive attack into one of the nation’s most balanced, as Mizzou was one of just two schools nationally to average at least 230 yards rushing and passing.
His tailbacks carried a big load in 2011, as the Tigers won the Big 12 Conference team rushing title, averaging a league-best 244.00 yards per game (ranking them 9th in the NCAA). Led by super sophomore Henry Josey, who ranked 2nd in the Big 12 (12th nationally), averaging 116.80 yards a game before ending his season early in game #10 against Texas. Despite his early end to the season, Josey earned unanimous 1st-Team All-Big 12 honors after beginning the year at No. 3 on the depth chart.
Jones and his troops also rose to the challenge in 2010, as a talented group of tailbacks combined in committee style to rush for over 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns as the Tiger run game ranked sixth in the Big 12 overall, averaging 156.38 yards per game (2,033 yards all told on the season).
In 2008, Jones took a first-year starter with limited prior experience, in true sophomore Derrick Washington, and helped mold him into one of the Big 12 Conference’s top running backs. Washington became only the eighth running back in Mizzou history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, as he tallied 1,036 on 177 carries (5.9 avg.) in 2008. He added 17 rushing touchdowns in his first year as a starter, which was just one shy of the school single season record.
The 2009 season saw the Tiger run game contribute with 1,651 yards, of which 1,342 came from the trio of junior Derrick Washington, sophomore De’Vion Moore and true freshman Kendial Lawrence. Washington earned honorable mention All-Big 12 acclaim for his season, which included 865 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, to go with 26 receptions out of the backfield.
Of the 10 Tiger running backs with 1,000-yard seasons, Jones has coached five of them in his time on the Mizzou sideline, including one each in three consecutive years, from 2006-08.
Jones helped develop Tony Temple into one of the top ball carriers in the Big 12 Conference in recent years, as the Kansas City, Mo., native ranked second in the league in rushing in 2006, with a career-high 1,063 yards and seven touchdowns, and followed with a 1,039-yard, 12-touchdown campaign in 2008, becoming the first running back in Mizzou history to claim multiple 1,000-yard seasons.
Temple closed his Tiger career in illustrious fashion, as he broke a 52-year old record by rushing for a Cotton Bowl-record 284 yards and four touchdowns in Mizzou’s rout of Arkansas. The yardage total was also the second-most in the history of Division I-A bowl games.
With Mizzou’s high-flying passing game getting most of the headlines, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Tigers also run the ball very well and very often. Mizzou ran for just under 2,500 yards in 2007 (2,467), and amassed 29 rushing touchdowns as well, providing a nice compliment to the air game. They followed with 2,153 yards and 28 rushing scores in 2008.
Temple earned honorable mention All-Big 12 status by league coaches in both 2006 and 2007. He also ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns in the 2006 Sun Bowl.
Despite their overall youth, and some injury problems for each one throughout the year, Jones’ group made steady progress in 2005, and contributed heavily to MU’s rushing attack, which ranked 3rd in the Big 12 Conference, and 17th in the NCAA, averaging 205.25 yards per game. Mizzou’s tailbacks combined to rush for more than 1,100 yards and tallied 8 TDs in 2005, averaging a healthy 5.6 yards per carry. In May of 2006, Jones was one of only 25 coaches selected to participate in the prestigious NCAA Expert Coaches Academy.
Jones’ backs rushed for over 1,200 yards and had 9 of MU’s 13 rushing TDs on the season in 2004. They were led by junior Damien Nash, who had 792 yards and 7 TDs, and redshirt freshman Marcus Woods, who had 428 yards and 2 scores. Woods was named 1st-Team Freshman All-Big 12 for his efforts in 2004. Nash was a 5th-round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Mizzou had one of the nation’s most potent rushing attacks in 2003, as the Tigers pounded their way to 3,087 yards, good for a per-game average of 237.46 yards that ranked MU 1st in the Big 12 Conference and 6th in the NCAA statistics. It marked the first time since 1960 that MU won a conference rushing championship, when the Tigers led the old Big Eight with a mark of 249.3 yards per game. Missouri rushed for 38 touchdowns on the year, on the way to scoring a school single-season record 399 points.
Jones’ workhorse from 2001-03 was tailback Zack Abron. Abron thrived under Jones’ coaching and turned himself into one of the top backs in the Big 12 Conference. Abron rushed for a career-best 1,155 yards in 2003, making him only the 7th 1,000-yard rusher in MU history.
Abron set numerous career records in 2003, as he left MU holding the standard in rushing yards (3,198), touchdowns (42) and points (252). He improved his average yards per rush from 3.6 as a freshman in 2000 to a healthy 5.3 in 2003, and also worked with Jones to develop himself into a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Abron was named 2nd-Team All-Big 12 in 2003 for his work, and went on to sign a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons following the 2004 Draft.
During Jones’ last two seasons at Toledo, UT’s running attack was ranked in the top-10 in the country. In 2000, the Rockets’ running game ranked ninth in the country, racking up 253.8 yards per game. UT compiled 2,792 yards on the ground and averaged 5.43 yards per carry. In 1999, Toledo ranked 10th in the country in rushing, compiling 239.2 yards per outing and ranked No. 1 in the nation in yards per attempt (5.35).
In 1995, Toledo led the league and ranked fifth in the nation in rushing, averaging 244.5 yards per game. The Rockets’ starting tailback that season, Wasean Tait was the named the MAC Player of the Year and garnered second team All-America honors ranking second in the nation in rushing and third in scoring.
Jones was an offensive lineman at the University of Connecticut, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing in 1980. He also holds a Master of Science degree in administration and physical education from Norwich (1983).
Jones was born in Jamaica and raised in New York City. He and his wife, Mary Kay, are the parents of sons Grant and Brandon, and daughter Audrey. Grant was a member of Mizzou’s 2014 recruiting class, and redshirted in 2014.