In his third season as the head coach of the Lincoln football team, Mike Jones continues to build the Blue Tigers into a competitive program.
Jones led the Blue Tigers as they rejoined the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 2011 after a 21-year absence, and last season, led LU to its first MIAA win since 1989 with a 34-27 Homecoming win over Nebraska-Kearney. Over the past two seasons Jones has improved the quality of depth in the Blue Tigers’ roster, allowing LU to go toe-to-toe on the field against some of the best Division II teams in the country.
Prior to being hired at Lincoln, Jones spent the 2010 season as the linebackers coach at Southern University a Division I historically-black university in Louisiana. The Jaguars’ defense recorded several solid numbers in 2010, including 26 sacks, eight interceptions and 92 tackles for loss.
Jones joined the coaching staff at Southern after a tremendously successful six years at Hazelwood East High in St. Louis. In 2008, Jones was elevated to the position of head coach at Hazelwood East, and in his first season he led the team to a 12-2 record and the Missouri state championship. Jones finished with an 18-7 overall high school coaching record.
While Jones has had success as a head coach, he is better known as a former player. Jones spent 12 years playing professional football, though none was sweeter than the 1999 season in which he helped the St. Louis Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans. During that game, Jones, a linebacker with the Rams, made a play that has gone down as one of the greatest in Super Bowl history. On the final play of that game, with the Titans trailing by seven and on the Rams’ 10-yard line, quarterback Steve McNair fired a pass to receiver Kevin Dyson who was running towards the goal line. Jones quickly adjusted and tackled Dyson with the ball on the one-yard line, preserving the victory for the Rams, who earned their first Super Bowl title.
That play, known as “The Tackle,” is Jones’ most memorable NFL moment, but it was but one of many in his 12-year career. He broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Raiders and finished with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his career, Jones accumulated nine sacks, eight interceptions, five fumble recoveries and four touchdowns (two on interceptions and two on fumble recoveries) in 183 games. He also played for the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football in between his rookie and second seasons with the Raiders, helping the team win World Bowl II in 1992.
While a member of the St. Louis Rams, he was a three-time winner of the Carl Ekern Award, and also won the Ed Block Courage Award. He was named third-team All-Pro by the Associated Press in 1999, as well as being named to the All-Joe team by the USA Today, and was named one of The Sporting News’ 99 Good guys in Sports.
Jones attended the University of Missouri, where he was one of the Tigers’ starting running backs. During his four years at Mizzou he was the Tigers’ second-leading rusher, and set a school record with 104 yards in a single quarter. During his junior and senior seasons, Jones was the team’s leading scorer.
Jones finished his illustrious collegiate career with Missouri records as having the most receptions by a running back in a season (41) and in a career (72), and he was a semi-finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the country’s top running back. Jones was inducted into the Missouri Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Jones enters his third season with a 2-20 overall record.
Enters his first season as the Head Football Coach at Langston University. He spent 2 years as the team’s Defensive Coordinator before being promoted this fall. He directed the 3rd ranked defense in the country as part of a 2012 run to the Central States Football League championship.
Prior to joining the Langston staff, Sanders coached for 10 years in the New Orleans High School system. He has Division I coaching experience, making stops across the country as an assistant, including 1 year at Alabama State University, 2 years at Utah State University, 2 years at Penn State University, and 2 years at Southeast Missouri State University. While at Penn State, Sanders coached in the 1993 Citrus Bowl. He also earned the Recruiter of the Year award during his time at Utah State.
A native of Belle Chase, Louisiana, Sanders received his Bachelor’s Degree from McNeese State University, where he was an All-Conference linebacker. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Education. Sanders has two children: Mikinzie and Macie.