Duke University football coach announces scholarship, book signi - FOX Carolina 21

Duke University football coach announces scholarship, book signing at Woodruff High School

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Duke University football coach announces scholarship, book signing, at Woodruff High School. (Courtesy: Duke University) Duke University football coach announces scholarship, book signing, at Woodruff High School. (Courtesy: Duke University)
WOODRUFF, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Derek Jones unpacked and sorted boxes at Woodruff High School on Friday. In those boxes were books he's extremely proud of.

"AP2W stands for Always Play to Win," Jones said.

It's the title of his book, #AP2W. It's a motto he not only wears, but also says he lives by.

"It means thinking positive, it means doing the right thing, it means being a good listener, it means being a good leader," Jones explained.

He came from humble beginnings in Woodruff where he played defensive back at Woodruff High School. Now, he's a defensive backs coach at Duke University where he also coaches boys to be men.

He says he wants to give back to those who may not have role models - something he learned form his fifth grade English teacher, Kaye Simmons. 

"She always made me focus on the abilities that I had outside of being a good athlete," Jones said. "One of the things I wanted to do was to be able to make a tribute to her- honor her for the influence she had been to me."

He used some of that inspiration and traded in his football playbook for his new book which is a compilation of his quotes. He also dedicated the book to Simmons.

"She was a fighter, she never ever gave up," Kerri McAlister said.

McAlister is part of a team passing around the new book, however her mother, Kaye Simmons, won't be around to see it.

Simmons died in June after a five-year fight with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It's a form of cancer, an opponent that never plays fair. 

"She wanted us to be upstanding members of the community and empower people," McAlister said.

Jones setup a scholarship at Woodruff High School in Simmons's honor. 

"I just know that she'd be blown away," McAlister said. "I'm blown away and so thankful."

Jones put his heart into the project, all for a woman who taught him what it really means to win. 

"If you do your best and you do better than you've ever done before, then you've won," Jones said.

Jones said those quotes come from some of the things he says to his children and players. If you would like to meet Jones in person, there will be a book signing at Woodruff High School on Saturday, July 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

A portion of the money from book sales will help fund the scholarship created in Simmons's honor.

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