Good coaches inspire and educate their students so they can do their best. One such coach in Jennings County School Corp. is Howard Jones, who is a positive influence on many students.

Jones has been teaching at the high school for 37 years and is the school’s wrestling coach. He started by teaching physical education for four days, but was transferred to teach general science. He taught that course for 23 years. After that he taught health and kinesiology (the study of movement) for seven years.

The most recent classes he has been teaching have been strength and conditioning and freshman physical education, which he has taught for seven years as well.

Jones has had considerable impact on students through wrestling, too. The Panthers, currently ranked 12th in the state poll, regularly are contenders for conference and postseason titles. Last year, the varsity went 20-0, won Hoosier Hills Conference sectional and regional championships and had three individuals qualify for the state meet.

Through Jones’ long involvement with the Indiana State Wrestling Association Cultural Exchange Program, he’s exposed wrestlers from Jennings High and other schools to different cultures with matches against wrestlers from countries including Japan, China, Mexico and Turkey.

Jones said that he enjoys having a positive influence on the students. However, he wishes that he had influenced more throughout his teaching career.

“Some people judge coaching by how many games you win or lose, but I judge coaching based on how many people I influence,” he said.