By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
William “Hutton” Jones claims to be living in the big time. And who’s to argue with him; a man who calls two tennis teams, a wife and three kids and a country CD his own.
Jones, a 1981 graduate of ACU, is serving in his seventh year as the head coach of the Wildcat women’s and men’s tennis teams. Jones grew up as a boy in Quanah, Texas, playing in tennis matches and playing with acoustic guitars. Music is a passion of the coach but Jones said he doesn’t imagine himself doing anything but coaching.
“I love music but my first love is coaching,” Jones said. “I have always played sports and it’s been more of a focus for me. Lord willing, I will be coaching until the day I die.”
Jones received his bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in management and human relations. However, he decided business wasn’t for him and ended up earning physical education degree, as well on his way to becoming a tennis coach.
“I think coach is a hard worker and he makes us work hard too,” said women’s player Joy Israel. “Coach always keeps us busy.”
Jones has no choice but to work hard. As if one team wasn’t enough, Jones coaches both the men and women in tennis. In comparison, can you see Clint Pleasant coaching both the men’s and women’s basketball teams?
As expected, conflicts occur when coaching two different teams, Jones said.
“In Division 1, the bigger schools all have one coach for men and one coach for the women,” Jones explained. “The school here, we run our program more like they do in Division 1 and it is evidenced by the support of our tennis scholarship endowments and the funding of our indoor/outdoor facilities. It’s hard balancing two teams.”
Jones said the next phase for ACU is to have a full-time assistant coach working with both the men’s and women’s teams. Teams will benefit in areas like practice time and traveling duties if they have a full-time head coach and a full-time assistant coach.
“If our teams weren’t any good it would be a lot easier. Not that I’m complaining,” Jones said with a smile.
If Jones is carrying a tennis racket in his right hand, then a guitar might be found in his left. Music is a passion of Hutton Jones and he even has his very own album.
Jones composed the lyrics and music for all 13 songs on his CD titled “In the Big Time.” Jones said he doesn’t need fame and fortune to make it big.
“The title song is called Big Time,” Jones said. “The song is about playing in honky tonks and bars, and how I won’t be doing that if that is what it takes to make it big. I’ve already made it in the big time. No one can stop me from writing songs and enjoying music and making CDs. I get enjoyment from just playing songs to write and play my music. Those guys play a big price for being stars, but I’ve made it to the big time because I have my wife and my three kids that I get to go home to.”
The CD, which Jones describes as country with a Christian twist, was not easy to create. In fact, Jones recorded in both Nashville and in Abilene to get the music done.
“I felt like the quality at Castle Sound Productions in Abilene held up where you couldn’t tell which was Castle Sound and which was Nashville,” said Jones.
Most of the songs are built around personal stories, Jones said. Jones said he was motivated to write and sing country music because he loves it but doesn’t like the negative tones country artists sometimes give off.
“Songs about cheating on your wife and getting drunk just aren’t for me,” Jones said. “Christian and family oriented songs can still traditional country music. It’s not a Christian CD, but its definitely family related. I think an adult would love it or your seven-year old kid would love it. It’s a wholesome type thing. My goal was to write good country songs that don’t have a negative slant to them.”
Jones wrote a song dedicated to his grandparents, one to his father and a particularly intimate song written about God, called “The Man Upstairs.”
Jones isn’t planning on quitting tennis to chase music but he said he is going to have fun no matter what.
“Life is great. I love my job, I love my music and I love my family. What’s not to love?”
Will Jones be a country music star? Not sure, but one thing is for sure; in his eyes, he is living in the Big Time already.