Ernest Jones, who was associate head coach of the University of Buffalo football team in 2010-11, enters his second year as director of player development and engagement.
Jones is responsible for helping develop the Fighting Irish football players in three of the five core areas head coach Brian Kelly uses to develop complete student-athletes: intellectual development, social development and spiritual development (the coaching staff is charged with skill development and the strength and conditioning staff is responsible for physical development).
Jones acts as a liaison between the football players and coaching staff plus serve sas primary contact between both the student welfare and development office and academic services for student-athletes department.
Through the athletics department's student welfare and development office, Jones helps coordinate community service projects via the "Irish Around the Bend" initiative. He also helps coordinate and monitor the study hall sessions with the associate director and senior academic counselor of the academic services for student-athletes department.
In addition to his title of associate head coach at Buffalo, Jones coached the Bulls' cornerbacks and served as recruiting coordinator. He also oversaw the "Bulls in the Community" program, an initiative that encouraged Buffalo football players to be active in community service. In this capacity, Jones initiated and oversaw the football team's adoption of Jacob Ortel, a local pediatric cancer patient.
Jones served as director of player services at Cincinnati in 2009 (as a member of Kelly's staff), providing guidance and counseling to the Bearcats' football team. He worked with the academic services department regarding classroom performance and managed the "Cats in the Community" program.
From 2000-08, Jones was a college football coach, including one year as a head coach and three years coaching at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. He was head coach at Alcorn State in 2008 and was an assistant coach under Kelly from 2005-07. Jones coached the running backs at Cincinnati in 2007, the running backs at Central Michigan in 2006 and coached the Chippewas' cornerbacks in 2005.
Prior to joining Kelly's coaching staff, Jones served as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Oberlin in 2004. He coached the defensive backs and was recruiting coordinator at Kentucky State in 2003.
His first coaching job was at Concordia University (Minn.) where he worked with defensive backs from 2000-02.
Jones earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Alcorn State in 1995. He received a master's degree in human services from Concordia in 2002 and is currently working towards his doctorate degree in educational leadership from Walden University.
Jones and his wife, Kimberly, have two sons: Kgai and Myles.