Dyneshia Jones-Elder to retire as CHHS Coach

Published 9:57 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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On Wednesday, April 14, Charles Henderson’s Dyneshia Jones-Elder announced her decision to retire as head coach of the girls’ basketball team after 25 years at the helm.

Jones-Elder, a native of Rome, Ga., has spent the past 25 years leading the Lady Trojans to unprecedented success as one of the top programs in the entire state, regardless of classification.

“I felt like it was just time, I was ready,” Jones-Elder said of her decision. “I want to enjoy my family and watching my kids play. I’ve never experienced that, so right now is the best time for me, the perfect time to do it.”

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Jones-Elder came to Troy as a basketball player herself, playing for Troy University from 1995 through 1997. She earned Mid-Continental Newcomer of the Year in the 1995-1996 season, averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in her first season as a Trojan. In 1996-1997, Jones-Elder went on to break the school’s single-season steals record, a record that still stands to this day. Her 7.7 rebounds per game also ranks 10th in school history in a career, while her 179 career steals ranks sixth in school history. Her nine steals against Buffalo on Jan. 13, 1997, is tied for the most in a game in school history.

The Charles Henderson Lady Trojans celebrate their regional semifinal win against Williamson. (Photo by Josh Boutwell)

After her stellar playing career, Jones-Elder took over the CHHS girls basketball program in 1998 and led the Lady Trojans to an Area Championship in her first season. Those area crowns continued coming and her 2000-2001 team reached the Elite 8, the first time a CHHS girls team made it that far in the State Tournament since 1990.

“No, not at all,” Jones-Elder said when asked if she expected to be still coaching at CHHS 25 years later. “I did enjoy it, though, that’s what I’ve stayed there all this time. I had other job offers at times but I loved it here and I loved the town and the people and the administration.
“They’ve always been really good to me. My kids enjoyed the teachers here and enjoyed being here, too, so I didn’t want to pull them out of that situation either.”

Jones-Elder’s 2017-2018 won the first state championship in school history and then repeated in 2019-2020, guiding her team to an incredible 29-0 record. In total, Elder-Jones’ Lady Trojan teams reached the Elite 8 a total of 11 times in her 25 years at the helm and reached the Final Four nine times, including each of the last four seasons and eight of the last 10 seasons.

By dan smith | The Messenger
The Charles Henderson Lady Trojans hoist the 2020 AHSAA Class 5A State Championship for the second time in three seasons.

Elder-Jones coached a total of 10 players that earned All-State honors with a number of those earning the honor multiple times. Before Elder-Jones’ arrival just two players in school history had been named to the ASWA All-State team. Among those all-state players is Jones-Elder’s own daughter Tuti Jones, a guard at Belmont University and All-American Maori Davenport.

While all of the accolades and championships mean a lot to her, it’s the things off-the-court that Elder-Jones said she will cherish most about her time as a coach.

“My favorite memories don’t deal with basketball, actually,” she emphasized. “Just watching the girls I coached become successful young women and graduate from college and doing positive things with their lives is what I’ll take.

“Throughout my time here we talk about life and being successful off the court. The small things they do, like being on time and how you treat people, those normal life lessons mean so much.”

Jones-Elder’s career will come to a close with a career record of 433-223 as one of the state’s winngest coaches ever and, by far, the winngest coach in Charles Henderson history.