PORTAGEVILLE -- After spending last year as the defensive and special teams coordinators for Portageville high school, Ronnie Jones will step up to the head coaching position this upcoming season.
"I'm looking at it as somewhat of a challenge," Jones said. "Portageville has a pretty good reputation at any kind of sports they're involved with and the football program is no different.
"There's good athletes there and good administrative people as well as the school personnel. Hopefully we can put it all together and come up with something big."
Stepping down, but not away, is former coach Lee Wallace who will remain with the team coaching defensive backs and receivers.
Jones said he was excited that Wallace, who is also head coach of the school's baseball team, decided to stick around in another capacity.
"He brings a lot of stuff to the table and the kids really like him," Jones said. "He's an asset to the program and the community. I'm tickled to death he still wants to be a part of it."
Portageville is coming off a resurgent season that saw the Bulldogs snap a 32-game losing streak covering three-plus seasons, to finish the year with a 4-6 overall record and 3-2 in the SEMO Conference.
Happy with the veterans he has returning, Jones is hoping this year's squad can build on last season's success.
"We have a good group coming back of seniors," he said. "We're pretty fortunate with that. They won four ball games last year and we just want to expand on that.
"We've set somewhat of a foundation. It's kind of shaky, but the thing about it is, and I told those kids too, that your not going to slip up on anybody this year. We had that opportunity last year because we hadn't won in awhile."
Though it may only be his second year on staff with the Bulldogs, Jones is nowhere near new to the Southeast Missouri football scene.
He was last head coach at Scott City from 2003-2004 guiding the Rams to a 10-10 overall record during that span, including the Class 2, District 2 title in his final season.
Prior to that he spent two seasons as defensive coordinator for Caruthersville after spending the two seasons before that as head coach of Kennett.
But of all his jobs, Jones is probably best known for his stint as head coach at New Madrid County Central for 18 seasons, ending in 2001.
In that span, Jones guided the Eagles to a 113-71 record, including nine district championships and eight conference titles.
While the busy summer schedule of many students-athletes has left Jones without a complete picture of what he will have this season, he said it should soon come in to focus.
"We start a camp the last two weeks of July, which will start Monday," he said. "I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll have good numbers. Then when we start in August with our two-a-days hopefully everybody will be on board that's going to play.
"At that time we're going make them give us a commitment. If they don't want to be out there or don't want to play that's fine. I'm just going to tell them 'don't waste your time, don't waste mine.' That's the way that we're going to operate."
He added that once he sees what kind of group he has, he will better be able to tell what kind of schemes they can run.
"I'm not going to tell you we're going to do any specific thing because just like anything else, I don't know what we're going to do until we get there and see what kind of personnel we have.
"Each year is a different situation regardless of where you're coaching at or what level and you basically have to look at what you have there and try to mold it in to the best situation that will give you an opportunity to win football games."
Portageville will kick off their regular season Aug. 27 at home against Caruthersville.