August 2013

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"Mike Jones would be proud"

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 3:10pm (August 11th, 2013)

I haven't made time to update my blog in months but this one deserved a few minutes. It's no secret that I saw former EMU legend Michael H. Jones as a mentor, coach, and all around great guy. The man was beloved by everybody who knew him. He began the MAC championship dominance that Eastern is still known for 40 years later. I used to work out with Coach Jones while I was training alone for my first Olympic Trials in 2008. He would tell me stories of the old EMU swimming days and I loved every minute of it. In 2009 Coach Jones went in for a relatively routine surgery and had complications which deteriorated his condition quickly. I visited him in the hospital frequently, none of which he was conscious for, but I still think it meant something to his family for me and other swimmers to show the support we all felt for them. On November 4th 2009 he passed away with family by his side. The local swimming community felt the loss in ways that are still discussed 4 years later.

This story is important to share because of what was said to me yesterday. I was involved in a business transaction with a nice couple in a non-swimming related venue. I had multiple conversations with them, none of which related to swimming.  Later I found out they were aware of my accomplishments in the pool because their daughter was also a swimmer.  The evening went well and I was approached by the husband who explained that he knew Mike Jones... my face just lit up!  I really value any connection to his legacy.  He explained that he was the assistant coach with Mike Jones back in the '70's.  I was just soaking up the stories as he told them.  I explained that I used to talk to Mike and work out with him.  As the conversation was coming to and end, the former assistant coach extended his hand, shook mine, looked me in the eye and said, "Mike Jones would be proud".

It was a moment I won't forget.