The annual award is given by the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame for significant contributions to sports.
Jones will be presented the award at the organization’s annual banquet Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m., at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Tickets are available by calling 875-9282.
“This is the most prestigious award given by the Hall of Fame and we feel Allan Jones is a most worthy recipient,” said John Farr, chairman of the GCSHF board.
Jones will be one of several honorees. A total of 22 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and six others will receive special awards.
While Jones’ contributions to the Cleveland community and his native state of Tennessee are diverse and numerous, many of those have been centered around sports, principally wrestling.
In 2001, he was sole provider of the funds to build the Cleveland High School wrestling center, which was later named for his father, the late W.A. Jones. A former wrestler at Cleveland, Jones funded the $900,00 project.
Jones wrestled at Cleveland in the early 1970s, was most outstanding wrestler at the school in 1971 and most valuable in 1972. He was runner-up in the state wrestling tournament at 155 pounds in 1972. His son, Bailey, won the 160-pound state title in 2010.
In 1990, Jones started the Cleveland-Bradley Kids Wrestling Club. Since 2000, Cleveland teams have won 10 state championships and produced the 1-2 teams in the last five years.
“I couldn’t be more proud that out of all the wrestling teams in Tennessee, our little town has finished first and second for the last five years,” Jones said.
Jones has formed many successful businesses over the past 30-plus years. He has earned Cleveland’s most prestigious business honor, the M.C. Headrick Free Enterprise Award, and he is a member of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.
He has been celebrated nationally and statewide for his business expertise. But his proudest accomplishment is his son’s winning the 160-pound title.
“After he won, he was hugging everybody, coaches, cheerleaders, teammates and he was coming toward me. I was expecting a big hug when he leaped into my arms,” Jones said. “I was so proud of him, but I was totally not expecting him to jump. I ended up having back surgery, but because I had been with him and helped coach him for six years, in my mind, it was my best achievement.”
The aquatic center at the University of Tennessee, a building he contributed $4 million toward, is named in his honor.
In Cleveland, he established a program where high school graduates of Bradley, Cleveland and Walker may attend Cleveland State Community College, and he funded a project that planted trees at every school in Bradley County.
He also provided the funding for the renovation of Cleveland’s downtown historic district and the capital for the building of the Virgil F. Carmichael addition to the public library.
Other honorees at the Feb. 27 fete include Female Athlete of the Year Kristen Vredeveld of Baylor School, Male Athlete of the Year Joel Bradford of UTC, Lifetime Achievement winners Tommy Layne and Rita Fanning, and Morgan-Morris award recipients David Barger and the late Kainen Boring.
Inductees include Frank Burke and Larry Simcox (baseball), Regina Kirk and Ed Odom (basketball), John Disterdick (boxing), Bill Emendorfer and Herman Weaver (football), Mickey McCamish (golf), and Marsha Goodwin and Toby Silberman (officials/administration).
Also Nancy Turner Powell and Ken Windsor (softball), Derold Millsaps (special category), Mark McCarter (sports media), Scott Ferguson and Jimi Flowers (swimming), Turner Howard and Scott Webb (tennis), Bill McMahan and Virgil Roberson (track and field) and Kenny Hill and Steve Logsdon (wrestling).