Ashley Jones has been coaching elementary football for Wellsboro for nearly four years and this year, she’s seen a lot of community recognition for her efforts alongside head coach Tyler Mead.
The fourth graders the pair coaches for tackle football lost their second grade playing year to Covid and last year, the team only won a single game during their season.
This year however has seen a monumental turn around, the team winning five of their seven games for their season.
Mead says this is the first year that this particular group of kids has played together and he couldn’t be happier with the amount of teamwork and progress they've seen from them on the field.
“It’s been a real privilege to see these boys grow up and to work with them and be a part of their growth,” said Jones.
The high school and elementary football industries have seen an increase in female coaches over recent years, Jones being a local example of that shift.
“I really don’t think the boys pay any attention to that. I’ve had enough of a presence with other sports and school activities that to them, I’m just another coach.
“Nobody has treated me any differently as a coach and I think that’s largely because of the community we live in. Our focus is always on the kids,” said Jones.
In order to prepare herself for coaching, Jones did extensive research into rules and regulations as well as diving into the semantics of different drills and plays. Jones is also a big football fan herself, so for her coaching sort of came second-nature.
“As much as I like to win, coaching at this level is more of a teaching opportunity for the kids. They learn a lot more from adversity and challenges than they would from X’s and O’s in a playbook,” Jones said.
“If you think coaching is something you’d be interested in, then go for it. Don’t let those little voices of doubt stop you from doing something good.
“The lessons we teach these kids will last a lifetime, and that’s worth more than any win on a scoreboard in my book.”