- RM assistant coach Jemonte Battle
B.W. Holt wanted four, but he was only able to get three.
Rocky Mount's sixth-year head football coach had four openings to fill on his staff. But as the practice season began last Friday, three new coaching faces were marching out orders on the Nash St. practice field.
And two of them should be familiar to longtime Gryphon fans. They'll join former players Gerald Costen (Class of '73), J.J. Jones (Class of '91) and Jason Battle (Class of '98) as members of the staff.
Jemonte Battle (Class of '00) has been brought aboard to coach the defensive backs and secondary. Battle knows that part of the field pretty well as he was a three-year starter and D-II All-America at Catawba. Battle also played defensive back in the Canadian Football League for two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Battle, older brother of last year's Rocky Mount High Female Athlete of the Year Dyonna Battle, is fourth on the all-time RMHS career receiving list with 62. He had 772 career receiving yards to rank 11th on that list. He led the 1999 squad, which had its regular season reduced by three games by Hurricane Floyd, with 30 catches.
Battle will teach computer science at RMHS.
Although Hank Jones is well-known to RMHS baseball fans, he might not be that familiar to the football folks. Jones, a Rocky Mount High (1986) and N.C. Wesleyan grad, volunteer-assisted Pat Smith in coaching the Gryphons to a baseball state title.
Pehaps he can help Holt do the same thing on the gridiron.
Jones had his day in the sun for the football Gryphons. He threw for over 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns during his time under center - including a four-touchdown pass performance against Tarboro to open his senior season. He led RM to a 9-2 record that year.
Jones was selected to play in the N.C.-S.C. Shrine Bowl that year, but a late injury prevented him from participating. He will be coaching the wide receivers and tight ends.
The lone out-of-stater to join Holt's staff is Alan Hess. A native of Tell City, Ind., Hess was a placekicker for the football team at NAIA-affliated Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio - northeast of Dayton. Hess will coach the Gryphons' special teams and offensive line.
He will teach social studies and history.
Here is the complete staff:
B.W. Holt - Head Coach, offensive line
Jason Battle – quarterbacks coach, receivers
Chris Lee – Head JV Coach, running backs
Kent Cox – Co-defensive coordinator, asst. JV Coach, outside linebackers
J.J. Jones – Co-defensive coordinator, inside linebackers
Gerald Costen – defensive front (noseguard, ends, tackles)
Jemonte Battle – defensive backs, secondary
Hank Jones - wide receivers, tight end
Alan Hess – special teams, offensive line