MORROW, Ohio — Little Miami High School named Caleb Jones as its next head football coach Thursday afternoon, pending Board of Education approval Feb. 26.
Jones, a physical education and health teacher at Little Miami since 2016, was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator the past three years.
“It’s a dream come true," Jones said in a release. "I’ve always aspired to be a head coach and I’m really happy for the opportunity. I’m looking to building on the previous success and get ready for that transition to the ECC.”
Little Miami and Winton Woods will join the Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC) starting in the 2020-21 school year.
Jones succeeds Nate Mahon who accepted the Hamilton head coaching position in December. Mahon was the Little Miami head coach the past three seasons.
“Coach Jones played a critical role in resurrecting Little Miami football the last three years,” Little Miami Athletic Director Keith Pantling said. “Witnessing the work of Caleb coupled with the passionate, unified support of our current coaching staff in favor of his hiring, spoke volumes. Stability and continuity were points of contention as we continue to build a strong, well-rounded, student-centered program. He’s the right person at the right time.”
Little Miami had one of its most successful seasons in program history in 2018. The Panthers (9-3) made the postseason for the first time since 1992.
The Panthers defeated host Edgewood 10-7 in the first round of the Division II playoffs and finished as a regional semifinalist.
When Mahon left for Hamilton in December, Jones was named the Little Miami interim head coach.
“We had a great season and we’re retaining 18 starters who I’m counting on to do a lot," Jones said. "But we also have some important roles to fill, player-wise."
Little Miami had one of its most memorable seasons in program history after having a 3-7 record in 2016.
The nine wins this season were the most since 1992 (11-1 record) and tied for the second most in program history (1987, 9-1 and 1985, 9-1).
"Caleb has been instrumental with the development of the football program over the past three football seasons,” Mahon said in a release. “Specifically, he has led a defensive unit that has been as good as anyone in the Southwest Ohio Conference last year. Our defense has become a unit that is fast, aggressive and tough. That is a direct reflection of Coach Jones' leadership.”
Jones previously taught and coached at Milford (2013-2016) and Mason (2009-2013).
Jones played defensive line at Mount Union from 2004 to 2007 and won NCAA Division III national championships with the Purple Raiders in 2005 and 2006 as a player. He was an assistant coach on the 2008 national title team.
Jones has a master’s degree from Ohio University in sports science with a concentration in coaching education.
Also, former Blanchester head coach Brandon Sammons, who lives in the Little Miami district, is expected to join the Panthers' staff on the offensive side of the ball. Blanchester averaged 33.5 points last season. Sammons, who coached Blanchester the past three seasons, was previously a Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy assistant prior to that.