Chris Jones has proven that in coaching, sometimes you can go home again -- even if that home is in another country from where you grew up.
After leading the Edmonton Eskimos (now Elks) to the 2015 Grey Cup, Jones has returned to Edmonton, this time with full control of his roster as head coach and general manager.
A Tennessee native who walked on at Chattanooga, he began his career nearly 30 years ago in the Alabama high school ranks. That led to GA jobs at Tennessee Tech and Alabama, then the D-line job at Tennessee Tech.
He parlayed that into the D-line job with the Montreal Alouettes in 2002, was promoted to defensive coordinator the following year and has mostly remained north of the border ever since.
Jones was the Toronto Argonauts' defensive coordinator, assistant head coach and assistant GM when Edmonton made him their head coach in 2014. After going 12-6 with a West Final appearance his first year and a 14-4 run to the Grey Cup in '15, Jones took the head coach and GM job with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016. He failed to lead Saskatchewan to the same heights as Edmonton, though he did reach the playoffs in two of his three seasons. Despite winning the CFL coach of the year award in 2019, Jones' contract was not renewed for the 2019 campaign.
He returned to the States as a defensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns in 2019, then briefly took the head job at his alma mater South Pittsburg (Tenn.) High School in 2021 before returning to Toronto one game into this season. And now he's left Toronto for Edmonton once again.
The Elks fired their head coach, GM and VP for football operations after a 3-11 season in 2021.
“I was fortunate with Edmonton. They gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach,” Jones said at the time.
“When an opportunity like this presents itself you have to jump on it.”