By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The “Getting to Know” series is designed to help the community learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Ravenna High School boys basketball head coach Marlon Jones, who is in his fourth season leading the Ravens’ program.
Q: What schools did you attend growing up?
A: West Main Elementary, Brown Middle School and Ravenna High School (Class of 2002). I played football, basketball and track and field.
A: Thiel College (2002-2005).
Q: Current occupation?
A: Manufacturing production supervisor.
Q: What inspired you to be a coach?
A: I was inspired to be a coach by my dad at a young age. Being a ball boy and watching him and Cameron Black Sr. at Theodore Roosevelt coaching gave me the inspiration.
Q: What makes being a coach at Ravenna special to you?
A: Being able to give back to the community, kids and the school. It’s special to me from being an alumni and now coaching kids that I played with their parents in high school. To be able to relate to the young men we coach and building relationships to keep them motivated. It is more than basketball. We genuinely want our young men to be set up for success in life. Starting with a focus on academics from our youth on up, we require our players to be above standards.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence?
A: I was most influenced by my parents, who instilled morals, values and work ethic in me. Always reminding me it is better to give than receive. My mother set the tone with being such a great role model and teaching me to be humble. She worked 43 years at Parker before retiring and always told me you have to work hard for everything you want and not to ever expect anything to be given to you. She is the pillar of the family.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: My senior year, when no one ran out to the court but Kris Yost and him tripping and falling in the middle of the cheerleaders.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your coaching career?
A: Going in at halftime and kicking a trash can, my foot got stuck in it and I couldn’t get it off. I had to sit down in order to pull it off my foot.
Q: Favorite TV show?
A: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Coach Carter.
Q: Favorite meal?
A: Steak dinner.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
A: Lil Wayne.
Q: Best vacation?
A: Disney World, Cancun, Bahamas.
Q: Favorite motto?
A: Defense wins championships.
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: It is important that our kids know their academics come first. They are student-athletes. If these young men don’t apply themselves in their school work, then they don’t deserve to see the court. Colleges aren’t looking for just athletic abilities, you must have the GPA as well if you anticipate receiving any form of scholarship.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Chop House.
Q: Favorite teacher from high school?
A: Mrs. Toth.
Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?
A: Take the leap of faith, believe and bet on yourself, always trust God’s plan.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Chet Feldman.
Q: Favorite sports teams?
A: Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball, Florida State football, Atlanta Falcons and Orlando Magic.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Deion Sanders.
Q: Favorite athlete now?
A: The 2022-23 Ravenna boys basketball team.
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: Gabriel Brothers.
Q: Family member that always gave you the best advice?
A: My mother Eldora Jones.
Q: Halloween costume last year?
A: I dress up as a pedestrian every year.
Q: Shoutout to former teammates?
A: Damien Fortson, James O’Neal, Roy McCullough, Jeff Kiel, Kris Yost, Mike Brooks, Aaron Wymer, Lee Daniels and Ty Parshall.
You would have to look a long time before you could find a better man than Marlon to guide your boys.