Lindsay says goodbye to beloved coach, teacher

An old photo of Carol Jones when she coached at Lindsay High School from the 1980s.(Credit to Lindsay High School)

After 55 years in Lindsay, former teacher and coach Carol Jones bids farewell to the Central Valley to head back to her home roots in Oregon

LINDSAY – For the past 55 years, Carol Jones has called the city of Lindsay her home. But she will now say goodbye to her adoptive city as she moves back to her home state of Oregon. While she will be closer to her family, the former Lindsay High School teacher and coach will miss the Central Valley.

“I love the area. I really love the Valley and I love the culture,” Jones said. “You can’t beat the view of the Sierras with the snow on them.”

For most of her 50-plus years in Lindsay, Jones taught and coached at Lindsay High School. From the years 1969-1989, Jones coached many sports, including swimming and diving, basketball, volleyball and softball. From 1969 up until her retirement in 2004, Jones taught physical education and health.

During that time, Jones made an impact on many athletes and students. Dena Benson, a former swimmer for Jones and now a retired teacher, enjoyed her time with Jones and believes she would not be the person she is without her influence.

“She was just full of energy and enthusiasm that inspired you to do more,” Benson said about Jones. “She inspired me to want to be a teacher and to be a better person.”

And for Jones, her relationships with her students and athletes left a mark on her as well.

“My best memories are just the interactions with the students,” Jones said. “I just cherish the relationships with the kids and the students. Even now, I have contact with a lot of them.”

Even after retiring in 2004, Jones stayed in Lindsay for another 20 years. But with her 80th birthday coming this December, Jones and her family decided it would be better for her to move back to her home state.

Jones grew up around Salem and attended Oregon State University. After graduating in 1969, Jones looked to teach physical education. She heard about jobs in California and interviewed up north in Stockton, Firebaugh and other areas. But when she first came to Lindsay to interview, she knew this small town was the right place for her.

After getting hired, Jones began teaching physical education in 1969. It did not take long until Lindsay High’s swimming and diving coach asked Jones if she wanted to be an assistant coach for the program. She did not know much about swimming, but quickly learned the techniques. She remained a coach in swimming and diving up until 1977.

But Jones’ biggest contributions to Lindsay athletics came a few years later. When Title IX regulations were implemented in 1972, Jones used it to push for more girls sports. She was successful as Lindsay High instated girls basketball in 1973, which Jones coached for the next eight years.

Jones also helped introduce other girls sports to Lindsay High such as volleyball and softball. She coached volleyball for 15 years beginning in 1974 and she coached softball for three years starting in 1980. Brenda Lynn Bevers, who competed in swimming, volleyball and basketball for Jones, appreciated her former coach’s efforts to make girls sports popular at Lindsay High School.

“She was the driving force at Lindsay High School for promoting girls athletics,” Bevers said. “I loved playing sports but it wasn’t as easy for girls to play as it is now. So she just helped me to be the person I am today because she gave me that opportunity.”

Even as these female athletes graduated, Jones has remained involved in their lives. When Bevers played volleyball at the College of the Sequoias, Jones would attend some of her games. Every few months, Jones would have a luncheon with several of her former athletes and students.

Over the past few years, Jones has split her time between Lindsay and a home in Depoe Bay, Oregon. When she leaves Lindsay, Jones plans on living in Depoe Bay full time where she might take some community college classes to further explore her interest in artwork.

Before she leaves, Jones plans on having a garage sale/bon voyage event on April 13 at 22995 Road 203, Lindsay. The event will last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be an opportunity for former students, athletes and others in the community to say goodbye to Jones before she moves away. When she eventually leaves for Oregon, Jones will be missed by the community.

“She’s always friendly and has a smile on her face,” Benson said. “She’s a really good down-to-Earth person who cares about people and I will truly miss her.”

“I will miss her sunny disposition, positive attitude and her support for those she worked with and taught in Lindsay,” Bevers said. “No matter what, she always stayed positive.”

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