Chris Jones talks Windsor coaching return, Wizards’ 2017 prospects and more

After winning his second state title in nine seasons in 2015, Chris Jones stepped down from the Windsor head coaching job to coach his oldest son and teach at a school closer to his Fort Collins home, Rocky Mountain.

But Jones’ ties to the Windsor community were strong enough to bring him back to the Wizards, as teacher and coach, following his year-long absence. Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman caught up with Jones to discuss his return to Windsor, his team this season and more.

Jones on his connection with the Windsor community…

“I was never fully out of contact with the coaching staff, the administration, the parents or the players. In late November, I went to one game and it was great to see everyone, and following that, we had a series of unfortunate losses in the Windsor area. There were some adults who had passed away who had been close to our program, and then we had several kids lose their lives — and I had those kids in class, and a couple of them played football for me as well. Going to a few funerals, seeing the sadness — it was tough. It was hard to see the community hurting like that.

“My A.D. and principal there were always supportive — and it wasn’t that they didn’t like the direction the program was going or how coach Skylar Brower (now the offensive coordinator at Fossil Ridge) was handling the program. They just reached out to me, and I thought about it, and it was a pretty emotional time for a lot of people. By no means am I some savior, but that community impacted me and I impacted them, so I felt like that’s where I needed to be.”

Jones on how to replace Corte Tapia…

“We never really try to replace an individual player, because they’re all unique. Corte was a special player — that’s why he’s at CSU now — and he’s one of the few guys in my years at Windsor that was able to play varsity all four years, and one of three that was able to start all four years. Can we put that same skill set back in there at linebacker? Most likely, probably not — but we can get a kid in there who’s athletic, who knows the system and our expectations and who know what leadership looks like just like Corte did.”

Jones on what he learned from coaching his son…

“I guess you could say in the year off from Windsor I got a little calmer and not so quick to react to a situation from coaching my son’s seventh grade team. I think I’m more patient with things, and I don’t let issues take up a lot of time at practice — so I’m just more understanding that I’m dealing with teenage kids where sometimes mistakes are going to happen. Our job is to, hopefully, teach them to be more consistent on and off the field.”

Jones on instilling leadership in his team…

“Each year, you have to teach kids how to lead. And each year, there’s a new group that comes in and hasn’t led before, and it takes a little time to get them acclimated to it. But I’m trying to put more on their plate, in terms of communication and expectations of their peers, and holding them to those expectations.”

Jones on his famous whistle and this season’s mindset…

“I do have the whistle. We have a senior BBQ on August 11 where I go over goals with the seniors and talk to the senior parents about expectations, what our theme is and the general overview to the year. At that time, all our seniors will add a piece of tape to the whistle just as all my past seniors have.

“This year, things are going to be different, and it’s a matter of how we handle ‘different’ together as a group. Different can be positive or negative, it can be something that happens to us on the field or off — and there’s always going to be a corresponding reaction, so it’s about how we react. We have a challenging schedule up front and our league is difficult as well, so we’re going to be challenged and we will see how we handle each week-to-week test.”


Windsor’s key 2017 returners

Zach Watts, Sr. OL/DL (Wyoming commit)

Brandon Ramirez, Sr. RB

Joel Kopcow, Sr. LB

Connor Apodaca, Sr. QB

Chase Lanckriet, Jr. QB

Windsor’s 2017 schedule

Sept. 1, 7 p.m. @ Vista Ridge (District 20 Stadium)

Sept. 8, 7 p.m., vs Pine Creek

Sept. 15, 7 p.m. @ Broomfield (Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium)

Sept. 21, 7 p.m. @ Greeley West (District 6 Stadium)

Sept. 29, 7 p.m. vs Grand Junction

Oct. 5, 7 p.m. @ Mountain View (Ray Patterson Field)

Oct. 13, 7 p.m. vs Monarch

Oct. 19, 7 p.m. @ Greeley Central (District 6 Stadium)

Oct. 27, 7 p.m. vs Skyline

Nov. 3, 7 p.m. @ Fort Collins (French Field)

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