The Chamberlain Chiefs entered their auxiliary practice area — the baseball stadium’s outfield — Monday afternoon in rows of two, arm in arm, a season-opening gesture of unity.
Now, they hope stability follows.
Richard “Cam” Jones, the program’s third head coach in as many opening days, will be the latest to try to provide it. This time last year, Jones was then-coach D.J. Mayo’s offensive coordinator.
Three weeks ago, the Charlotte, N.C., native was promoted to replace his boss after Mayo resigned over teaching certificate issues.
“I got hired at the end of last year in a full-time (teaching) position,” Jones said during a water break Monday. “During the day all day I’m in orientation, so I’m stretched pretty thin, but I’ve got pretty good assistants that help me get stuff done.”
Only one of those assistants, defensive coordinator Trae Gentile, returns from Mayo’s staff. Jones said the two will preserve Mayo’s basic strategic philosophies (power run game, 11 best players on defense), albeit with a few of their own flourishes.
Some of those are aesthetic.
Jones recently drew a Chiefs logo — a large C in a football silhouette — and had it painted outside the field house wall. He also rearranged the lockers, once aligned against both walls, into cubicle-type quadrants.
“We just walked in today and that’s how it was,” said senior linebacker Mike Rivera, one of 44 players suited up Monday. “We were relieved (when Jones got the job). We didn’t want to start all over again.”