After leading Port Allen boys basketball to back-to-back state championships, head coach Derrick Jones is moving on to coach at his old stomping grounds.
Jones, 43, is the new head basketball coach at his alma mater, Catholic High.
Jones spent four years at Port Allen where he led the Pelicans to an 88-26 record, which included a state runner-up finish in 2019 followed by the two state titles.
Catholic High announced Jones’ hiring Wednesday morning.
"I didn't initiate anything with this," Jones said. Before I heard coach (Mark) Cascio was leaving, I didn't think there was ever a possibility that I would go there. I thought he would be there for 20 years."
Jones played at Catholic High in the 1990s before he played at Mississippi State and Samford.
Before his time at Port Allen, Jones was an assistant college basketball coach at various places which included. Samford, UNO, Louisiana Tech and Vanderbilt.
"Catholic High for me was the Catholic High I knew from 1996," Jones said. "I hadn't taken a tour or anything like that. I didn't know about the facility upgrades. They explained their vision to me and I realized during the interview process that it was a dream job."
At Catholic High, Jones gets the opportunity to compete against powerhouses such as Scotlandville, St. Augustine, Brother Martin and John Curtis to name a few, something he said he is looking forward to.
Jones coached his last game as the Port Allen head coach Thursday evening in summer league action at Woodlawn.
"It was a lot of emotions," Jones said. "it was a really tough moment. I had to explain to parents that their kids were going to be taken care of. I trust Mr. Wes Watts (West Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent). I trust Mr. (James) Jackson (Port Allen principal) and coach (John) Williams (PA athletic director) that they'll find the right person for the job."
Despite Jones' departure, the coach said he'll still keep up with his former team's progress.
"I'll always love Port Allen," he said. "It's home for me. I just thought it was time to make a move. It was a lot of hard work that went into what we did. The kids trusted and believed in what we were trying to do. It was a really special run but I don't think it's over for them. They still have a lot of talent there. I still love them, and I'll be checking every score, but I have work to do at Catholic."