By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
OLIVE BRANCH – Christmas came twice for Booneville native Blake Jones.
Jones, a former Booneville High basketball player, was offered his first head basketball coaching job and got to see his alma mater go on to win a state championship – something his Blue Devils teams came close to doing, but couldn’t quite pull it off – under one of his former assistant coaches, Michael Smith.
Jones, 28, is Olive Branch High School’s new girls head basketball coach. He replaces a good friend of his, Eric Rombaugh.
But it won’t be like saying goodbye to his coaching buddy. Rombaugh recently became Olive Branch’s boys head coach, and Jones plans to help him out next season.
“I felt like I’ve got the honor of being a head coach and getting an opportunity to do what Coach Smith did,” said Jones, referring to how Smith led the Blue Devils to a state title, “as long as you can work as hard as you can. That’s what happened to Coach Smith.”