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After serving as the head coach of Lafayette’s junior varsity field hockey team since 2004, Chris Jones has a chance to prove himself at the varsity level.
On Tuesday, Jones was approved by the Williamsburg-James City County School Board as the new varsity field hockey coach at Lafayette, taking over for Jazmin Argarin who had led the program since 2013.
A coach at Lafayette since 1998, Jones began his coaching career with the Rams as a softball coach. In 2004, Jones became the head coach of the junior varsity field hockey team and an assistant coach with the varsity club.
One year prior to Jones becoming an assistant for the Lafayette varsity team, Jones watched Pat Thompson guide the Rams to a state championship. In Jones’ mind, the program has been slipping ever since the championship run.
“Up until 2003, [the players] went to hockey camps and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “And then we just stopped doing all that stuff. We just got away from doing what it takes to get a commitment out of these young people.”
Under a Jones-coached Lafayette team, the players will not be the only ones expected to commit. Jones has stressed commitment from team parents as well, some of whom have been participating in off-season conditioning workouts with their children.
Commitment is something Jones has in spades, especially when it comes to Lafayette athletics.
Despite suffering a heart attack three years ago, Jones maintains he has not missed a Lafayette football game in nearly 20 years and only sat out coaching for one year before returning to the sidelines at the recommendation of his wife.
During his one year hiatus from coaching, Jones felt the fire to coach again burning from within, expressing his disdain for watching games from the bleachers.
It’s that passion for competition Jones, who led Lafayette’s junior varsity team to a 12-4 mark in 2014, hopes his players will feed off during the upcoming season after the Rams finished a lackluster 8-8 last year.
“We’re trying to get an attitude of winning,” he said. “As a head coach, I always want to win. I’ve got some good returning players and some good upcoming players. I’m excited about this new season. It’s just a little bit different of an atmosphere than it’s been in the past few years.”