Jones dies days before HoF honor

Frank "Scooby" Robert Jones Jr.

Madisonville sports legend Frank "Scooby" Robert Jones Jr., 64, passed away unexpectedly last week just a couple of days before his induction into the Madisonville North Hopkins High School Hall of Fame.

The Hopkins County native played both football and basketball for the Maroons and was a part of the state quaterfinalist basketball team in 1973 and 1974. Jones went on to play football at Western Kentucky University.

"It really shocked everyone," said his former teammate and friend Robert Porter. "He always had a big smile on his face that was contagious."

The induction ceremony will take place today at 5 p.m. before North takes on Daviess County at Maroon Stadium. Family and friends will be on hand to honor Scooby as he is recognized for his years of dominance in both sports.

"It really takes you back to memories of when we were younger," said Porter. "He was this 6'4", 6'5" kid without any fear. All you remember was his big smile and those broad shoulders."

His fearlessness was something his teammates loved and, they say, he always brought the energy of the team up no matter where they were playing.

"He was an enforcer, a guy you really wanted on your team," said Porter. "We were playing some of the best schools in the state, playing some of the best teams from the city, and we went in there with confidence because he was on our team."

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The Maroons were fighting for state titles, making deep runs in basketball tournaments and, Porter says, having Jones' energy was the secret to the success.

"We were just a country team, but his fearlessness really made us think we could take on anyone," said Porter.

On the football field, it wasn't much different. Scooby was a tightend, and the biggest weapon the weapon the Maroons had.

"He was just so good at football," said Porter. "He would go right at the middle without any fear and catch anything the quarterback would throw."

After his playing days, Jones worked at the International Automotive Corporation (IAC) in Madisonville before retiring and was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Services for Jones will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 at Elliott Mortuary in Madisonville. The Rev. Bruce L. Butcher, pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church of Akron, Ohio, will officiate. Burial will be in Elliott Memorial Gardens in Madisonville with military honors by the 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell and Hopkins County Honor Guard. Visitation and wake services will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Elliott Mortuary and after 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

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