Rantoul names Jones interim AD

RANTOUL — The Rantoul Township High School board went with a familiar name in pegging its interim athletic director.

Allen Jones Sr., the former police chief in Rantoul and former varsity baseball head coach at the high school, was approved unanimously by the board in a 7-0 vote at Monday night's meeting to fill that position.

Superintendent Scott Amerio said the board will decide, possibly as soon as its Dec. 12 meeting, about posting the full-time AD job for the 2012-13 school year. Amerio said a timeline to fill that position would have interviews in January or February, and then hire the new AD either in February or March.

The move came about after current athletic director Sally Bryan announced her retirement in June. Bryan will retire Dec. 21, meaning a new person would have to come in after that to assume the duties. At the September board meeting, the board did not approve Amerio's choice of Chris Wagner to become the new AD and decided it wanted more outside applicants to consider.

Jones will be paid a $3,400 stipend.

"He can work 24 hours a day if he wants," Amerio joked. "That'll be up to him. We're not going to expect him from 8 to 4 every day. Mainly, he'll be here to supervise games."

Jones also will make sure officials are assigned and regular game management is taken care of. Jones said he would talk with Amerio and Bryan more before he assumes the interim position.

"He won't be doing exactly what (Bryan) did," Amerio said. "He's mainly there to make sure the last half of our winter sports and our spring sports can function."

Jones said he noticed the ad posted on the school's website a few weeks ago and contacted Amerio about his interest.

"Like I told Scott when I called him, I said I think I have the management and supervisory experience, (along with) budgetary experience," Jones said. "I think I can help them fill their time between Sally's retirement and give them some time to hire a full-time athletic director."

Amerio said five people applied for the interim job, with three coming locally and two from out of state. Jones has stayed involved in local athletics since he retired as baseball coach in 1999. He is an assistant coach for the Rantoul Senior Legion baseball team and had worked the last five years as an assistant baseball coach under former Eagles baseball coach Justin Franzen. He spent this last fall

serving as a volunteer assistant baseball coach for the Eater Junior High team.

"He emailed me and said he was very interested," Amerio said. "As we talked, it became very intriguing to me as well. He's a very nice guy, very organized, knows sports, knows the Corn Belt (Conference) and has a lot of time on his hands, too, so that helps."

Jones, a 1967 Rantoul graduate, said he's eager to see what awaits in the next four to five months.

"I'm excited about Rantoul sports anyway," he said, "so it just gives me a chance to stay involved."

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