Cards’ golf success propels Jones to Hall of Fame

Jeff Linville Staff Reporter

November 13, 2013

When Gordon Jones first moved to East Surry High, the long-time high school coach didn’t have a coaching gig.

Three years later, he was asked to help with a couple of sports, and the Cardinals are certainly glad he took the jobs.

Gordon Jones will be inducted into the 2013 class of the Surry County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday for his work as a soccer and golf coach in Pilot Mountain.

Gordon said he grew up in Florida and played golf on his high school team.

He joked that he reached his peak when he won a local tournament at 15. On his varsity squad, he was only the third or fourth seed on a team that was pretty good, he said.

He picked Wake Forest for college and thought he might walk on to the golf team.

He said he was about a 6-handicap at the time, and the coach informed him he would need to be a two or less for a chance to make the squad.

Gordon majored in French and had a chance to spend a semester abroad. He earned teaching certification for both English and French instruction.

In 1979, he got his first scholastic job at Hanes High in Winston-Salem, teaching sophomore English. For six years he taught as well as coached tennis and softball.

In 1985 he moved to Parkland where he would lead the softball, soccer and golf teams up to 1997.

By that time, Gordon had explored his adopted state and loved everything about Surry County. He and wife Wallye and son Andrew moved to the area.

Gordon went to East Surry to check into a position. He was pleased that the school wanted him for his teaching skills and not just his coaching credentials.

He enjoyed his break from coaching, but really began to miss sports.

Three years into his time at East, the principal came to ask about starting a soccer program.

In 2000, Gordon established the Cardinals’ first boys’ soccer team.

“He was the head soccer coach until 2005, with his record improving each year of his tenure,” retired coach Ron King wrote in his nomination letter for Gordon.

In the spring of 2001, the golf coach quit, and Gordon stepped in midseason. He remained golf coach until his retirement in 2008.

In his time over the golf team, the Cards qualified for the regional tournament each year. The team qualified for the state level in each of his full seasons (2002-08).

East Surry won the conference championship from 2004 to 2008 as well as the conference tournament. For those five seasons, Gordon was named coach of the year each time.

The Cards took the regional title in 2004 and 2006 and were runners-up five other times.

In 2004, the Cards finished second in the state for 1A. Then the team won four straight state 1A titles.

For three straight years, an East Surry player finished first in the state tournament.

Johnson York won the state honor in 2006, then John Welden won for 2007 and 2008.

In 2007, the Cards had three players in the top five with Welden, York and Tommy Gibson shining.

In 2008, son Andrew graduated from East Surry, so Gordon and Wallye decided to retire.

Gordon said he stays busy these days. Not only does he still play plenty of golf, but he drives a school bus and is involved in the local Ruritan Club and Fairview Methodist Church. He also finds time to do some soccer officiating for high school teams.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in the Surry Community College gym at 4 p.m. Saturday.