Brad Jones was one of those teenagers who put the “all” in all-around athlete.
Participating in as many as four sports at tiny Montezuma High School 25 miles north of Terre Haute, Jones in time parlayed his talents into eight varsity letters at Franklin College.
Oddly, it’s a sport the former Jones didn’t take up until he was in his mid-20s that landed him in a Hall of Fame.
The Franklin resident was among those inducted March 15 into the Indiana ASA/Wayne
L. Myers Softball Hall of Fame in Bloomington.
Jones played guard for the Grizzlies’ men’s basketball program in the winters from 1984-88. Come spring, he would step almost immediately into the role of shortstop/pitcher for the Franklin College baseball team.
A desire to remain competitive athletically steered Jones to slow-pitch softball in 1991. In the years since, he’s played shortstop for teams from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. His travels have taken him to 22 states, and he’s been part of six national championship teams.
Jones, 47, also has been named All-American several times during his career.
KEEPING UP WITH JONES
Name: Brad Jones (pictured)
Family: Wife, Missy; sons, Trey, 13, and Tyler, 8
High school: Montezuma (1984)
College: Franklin College (1988)
Favorite TV show: “Parenthood”
Favorite food: Pasta
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans”
Favorite athlete: Larry Bird
Favorite team: St. Louis Cardinals
However, hearing from the Hall of Fame is the ultimate.
“I’ve been to a lot of these ceremonies, so it was kind of shocking when I got the text in December. It’s very humbling,” said Jones, the business office manager at Franklin College. “To me, this is neat because it’s not really an individual honor. You have to be on good teams that have done well.
“One of the cool things to me is I got to go in with one of my teammates (Dennis Buis).”
Yet long before Jones embarked on a hall of fame softball career, he established himself as one of the top players in the history of the Franklin College men’s basketball team.
Jones scored 1,263 career points for the Grizzlies basketball, which ranks 20th on the their all-time list.
The eight 3-pointers he made in a game against Marian University his senior season remains a program standard, later duplicated by Jim Sigler in 1999-2000. Jones also shares the single-season record in 3-pointers (72) with current Grizzlies’ assistant coach Jarrod Brett (1997-98).
“Brad was one of the most impressive, productive players we’ve had in my 31 years here,” said Franklin basketball coach Kerry Prather, who laughs thinking back to phone conversations when he had to explain to the kid from the country how to get around Interstate 465 in order to reach campus.
“From the day I met him until today, he’s just the most rock-solid person you would ever want to meet,” Prather said. “A great leader by example, on the court and off the court.”
Off the court, softball became his post-college athletic passsion. Initially, the 20-something version of Jones figured he would play competitive softball for a few years before locating different outlets for his desire to compete.
More than two decades later, he continues to take his cuts.
“There’s plenty of travel. Most of the bigger tournaments are in Florida, Las Vegas or Texas, but there is real good softball being played in the Midwest,” said Jones, who tries to incorporate his wife, Missy, and two sons into as many trips as possible.
“I used to laugh with my buddies, telling them I would never play past 35,” Jones said. “I just still really enjoy my teammates and the competitiveness. Everyone kind of fights for each other.
“Growing up like I did,it’s hard to give up the team atmosphere.”