Titan Petey Jones retiring after almost 30 years with T.C. Williams

WASHINGTON — Petey Jones, who brought home the 1971 state football championship for T.C. Williams as a Titan and has been immortalized in Disney’s “Remember the Titans,” is retiring from Alexandria City Public Schools after nearly 30 years.

Jones was a senior fullback on George Washington High School’s football team in 1971. When Alexandria’s three high schools merged, he suddenly found himself on a new team with new players.

Racial tensions were omnipresent. But Jones says music helped bring the Titans together.

July 20, 2024 | WTOP's 2001 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award winning story about Petey Jones and T.C. Williams (Brennan Haselton)

“Being black and white, and people learning each other’s songs … that’s one of the main things that helped us come together as a team,” he told ACPS Express.

After their phenomenal win, the Titans were given a key to the city. They were also credited with bringing Alexandria together during a particular time of racial unrest.

Those hard times haven’t really gone away, but Jones notes that it isn’t just area high schools coming together anymore.

“Back then everything was black and white. Now you’ve got kids coming from all over the world. The big difference between us is … they’ve got more things to deal with than we did,” Jones said.

Far beyond the Disney movie, Jones has left his own mark on Alexandria City Public Schools.

“He has been here to inspire and guide our students with compassion, integrity and kindness. … Petey is always generous with his time and wisdom with our guests, often leaving them in tears of emotion and joy,” said T.C. Williams Principal Pete Balas.

Jones had also been a longtime School Security Officer.

ACPS is now looking to establish a scholarship fund in Jones’ name. A $3,000 goal has been set. Those looking to contribute can get more information on GiveGab.com.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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