After five seasons at Murray State, Derek Jones begins his first year on Andy McCollum's staff at Middle Tennessee. Jones, who coached the secondary for the Racers, will be in charge of the Blue Raider cornerbacks.
Last season, Jones' secondary played a major role in Murray State ranking 11th nationally in total defense and 23rd in scoring defense. Jones tutored two first team all-conference players in 2004 with Laroni Gallishaw and Onsha Whitaker. Whitaker registered seven interceptions in 2004 to rank fourth nationally.
In 2003, Jones' secondary was instrumental in leading the Racer defensive unit to a No. 2 ranking in pass defense. Jones joined the staff at Murray State in the spring of 2000 after serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Mississippi, for more than a year. Following a professional playing career, Jones returned to Oxford to serve as a graduate assistant coach.
Jones enjoyed a stellar playing career at Ole Miss, earning second-team All-SEC honors as a junior and senior cornerback. As a senior, Jones served as the Rebels' permanent team captain and won the prestigious Chucky Mullins Courage Award, given annually to the Rebels' best defensive player. For that honor, he also wore Mullins' No. 38 in his senior season, winning the Team Leadership Award that year.
Following his senior season, Jones was selected to play in the 1996 Blue-Gray All-Star Classic.
In addition to football, Jones was also a standout in track and field at Ole Miss, earning All-American honors in the 4x400-meter relay. A member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity at Ole Miss, Jones was a fraternity scholar from 1994 to 1996. Jones graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor's degree in public administration in 1996.
He played professionally for the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and the Nashville Kats of the Arena Football League. After a ruptured disk ended his playing career in 1998, Jones returned to Ole Miss to begin his coaching career.
A native of Moore, S.C., Jones was a standout in both football and track at Woodruff High School. He was an all-state selection as a defensive back as a junior and senior in addition to being the team MVP in those years. He was also a three-time all-state pick in track and field.
Jones is married to the former Naketa White of Oxford, Miss. The couple has a daughter, Madison, 6, and Jones has a daughter, Darquisha, 12.