MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- Calvin "CJ" Jones has been instrumental in developing young men and women not only as fundamentally sound basketball players but also as good citizens and good students.
Jones has been an integral part of the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon: first as the gym coordinator for 20 years and for the last 25 years as director of basketball operations.
More than 100 of Jones' family, friends and those who have been influenced by him came together in June at Maggie Spillane’s Ale House to say thank you for everything he has done for the youth.
Jones told the story of how he first became involved with the Boys & Girls Club. At age 12, he was running with a gang and because of his natural leadership ability, he was appointed the leader. His gang chased a boy they were going to beat up to the boys' club. Jones and the boy were seen fighting by then Director Dick Cuputo who stopped the fight. He suggested Jones join the club, but Jones said he could not afford the membership fee.
The staff gave him a pair of gloves and told him if he helped clean the yard that would cover his membership. Jones helped with odd jobs around the club and through his efforts was awarded "Lifetime Member."
In 1972, Jones was recruited by his brother James, who was athletic director and a basketball coach at the North Side Unit of the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club, to become a basketball coach. Since then, Jones has been a mentor and counselor for thousands of children.
Jones has always stressed education and being a "student athlete'' over just being an athlete.
Jones will continue to work for the Mount Vernon City School District where he was recently promoted to supervisor.