The University of Connecticut doesn’t exactly have a powerhouse football program. In fact, the defensive coordinator from Michigan State turned down their head coaching position a few weeks ago. But they’ve got a new head coach now and he knows how to turn the program around — with more Jesus.
UConn, which is a public institution, recently hired Ernest T. Jones to serve as the team’s running backs coach and also as its director of “player engagement.” Since nobody would know what “player engagement” means without an explanation, Jones was kind enough to clarify.
“We develop [the players] socially, intellectually, spiritually, physically,” Jones said in a recent radio interview. “That’s what we’re going to do for these young people and [UConn Head] Coach [Bob] Diaco has allowed me to oversee the social and spiritual part of the development. I mean, this is big. This is a big part of our program.”
Spiritual development? That sounds problematic at a public institution. Worse, it turns out that Jones has a very specific type of spiritual development in mind – not to mention that he doesn’t seem to understand what the word “non-denominational” means.
“And we’re going to do things in our building, fellowship, non-denominational type things, players, coaches,” Jones said. “We’re going to make sure they understand that Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle, that that’s something that is important. If you want to be successful and you want to win, get championships, then you better understand that this didn’t happen because of you. This happened because of our Lord and Savior. That’s going to be something said by Bob Diaco. That’s something that’s going to be said by Ernest Jones. That’s who we are.”
For a little added irony, Jones was fired as head coach of his alma mater in 2008 for “malfeasance and contumacious conduct” for a variety of rules violations.