Director of Officials Mark Jones announces plans to retire

MONTGOMERY - Mark Jones, an assistant director with the Alabama High School Athletic Association since 2016, has announced his plans to retire, AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said Monday. Jones' retirement will be effective at the end of this school year.
     Jones has served as the AHSAA Director of Officials for the last three years, replacing long-time veteran Greg Brewer, who had been in that position for more than 30 years. Jones made his presence known quickly, helping the AHSAA introduce instant replay for football and a pitch count for baseball among his many contributions.
     The Guntersville native spent 32 years at Jacksonville State University teaching sports officiating as part of his administrative duties before joining the AHSAA staff. He initiated arbiter pay for post-season payment for AHSAA contest officials as one of his first major contributions, and he also introduced a weekly quiz for officials to enhance their training in the rules and administration of officiating contests.
     "Mark has been an invaluable member of our AHSAA family," Savarese said. "We wish him the very best in the next chapter of his life. He has made so many contributions to the success of the AHSAA, especially in the area of officiating. Mr. Jones has been a leader in the development of training for contest officials. He has dedicated himself to raising the competence across the board with 
contest officials in all sports. A man of strong character, he proved to be an outstanding mentor for our more than 7,000 officials. He leaves some big shoes to be filled."
     Jones, who served on the NFHS Football Rules Committee, said the decision was a difficult one.
     "I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the great people of the AHSAA, which include the AHSAA staff, member schools, administrators, coaches, athletes and especially the officials," Jones said. "It has been an honor to be a part of such a great organization and to be so closely involved with education-based athletics at the high school level."
     Jones credited his predecessor's leadership in making his own transition to the AHSAA much smoother.
     "Greg Brewer provided a great foundation for officiating in Alabama, and I enjoyed working with others to build on that foundation.  However, after 40 years of service in the Alabama Education system, I will be retiring as of June 1.  I look forward to playing golf and spending time with family and friends as well as watching some high school contests in a more leisurely fashion."