Awarding students who excel in the classroom, on the field, and around the community
Who is Roger Jones
The GOAT, an acronym that needs no explanation. The greatest of all time. Roger Jones earned this title in his hometown of Aurelia, Iowa with a lot of hard work, passion, talent and heart. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school, participating in varsity baseball, basketball, football, and track and field. After much high school success he went on to compete at the collegiate level in football, track and field, and baseball at the University of Northern Iowa where he also studied business. After graduating, Roger moved down to Florida where he met Betty Ann, later to be named Hunny Bunny, in 1970. A few years later, they got married. Betty Ann had four boys from a previous marriage, whom Roger later adopted as his own and they later had two more children of their own.
When he was not managing the local Firestone store, he enjoyed coaching youth sports and being involved in all the activities of his kids. He even coached teams that his kids were not even involved in. In 1981, Roger Jones and Ed Kershner founded the Great Florida Shootout which would eventually grow to be the number one high school basketball tournament in the country. It ended its reign after 35 years. Roger then began a new project with head softball coach from Osceola High School, George Coffey. They founded the Kissimmee Klassic Softball Tournament housing the top high school teams in their division from the east coast. This is still going on to this day. You could usually find Roger at any local sporting event whether it be softball, basketball, football, or wrestling. He kept score at many wrestling tournaments in town, setting the standard for how it was done. He even kept the stats and score keeping with his entourage of working at the Junior College State Softball Tournament. He was well known within the community and was a member of the Jaycee’s and Rotary Club.
Roger was fighting several different cancer battles throughout his life. These long fought battles were ended on September 6, 2018 when he passed away with his wife, kids, and grandkids by his side, a sendoff he couldn’t have better asked for. Roger left this community better than he found it, and for that his legacy will continue.
December 23, 2016
“It’s hard to describe the amount of work that goes into putting on a tournament like the Shootout,” Jones, who retired from his sporting goods business last year, said. “it was a year-around job for me, but it was a labor of love. But, there came a point where there were other things I had to take care of. We turned the tournament over to the outstanding people at Rotary, and they did a fine job with it for a long time.”