The Miami Dolphins lost one of their family early Wednesday morning when former executive and President Eddie Jones passed away. Jones joined the Dolphins in 1988 and worked until he retired in 2005. Most of his career was spent with Don Shula. He worked with the Dolphins for 18 years 10 of which were spent as President. He was 74.
The Dolphins former President was a behind the scenes type of guy but those who came into contact with him all came away with the same impression. Class. It’s easy to listen to former members of the staff talk about what he meant to them, but I thought it more appropriate to quote one of our own fans who had the pleasure of listening to him talk with at a Webmasters event held by the team in Jones’ last season.
“I found him engaging”, says “Bitchin” Dave Kennedy who was at the first Web Weekend event. “…and was kind of sad when he retired. He was one of my favorite speakers”.
Jones spoke with the group of Webmasters from various Dolphin fan sites but maintained as mentioned a behind the scenes approach to his actions. He was instrumental in the process of the teams transfer of ownership from Joe Robbie to Wayne Huizenga.
“I lost a dear friend with the passing of Eddie Jones,” former Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga said. “He truly exemplified what it meant to be a gentleman. He certainly could be a competitor, as I found out across a conference table when I was negotiating to buy the Dolphins, and later on the golf course during our many rounds together. But what set him apart was his kindness and warmth – you couldn’t help but have a great time whenever you were around him. It didn’t matter who you were – he treated everyone with respect. He was one of the most outgoing people I’ve ever known and that optimism lifted up everyone around him. I certainly will appreciate Eddie’s invaluable contributions to the Dolphins’ legacy, but what I will remember most is his friendship and his positive impact on so many people.”
While Stephen Ross never worked with Eddie Jones, when asked about the loss, Ross spoke about how many in the organization or former employees of the organization routinely spoke about Jones.
“Speaking for the entire Dolphin organization, I want to express my sadness about the passing of Eddie Jones,” Dolphins owner Steve Ross said. “Eddie’s tenure at the Dolphins may have preceded my ownership, but I certainly knew so much about him from his many friends. From the very beginning of my involvement with the team, I not only heard about all the things Eddie accomplished on behalf of the organization, but also about the respect and admiration so many people had for him, not only among the Dolphin family, but also throughout the South Florida community and the NFL. I know Eddie will be missed by everyone he touched, and on behalf of the Dolphin organization I want to extend my condolences to his wife, Marilyn, and the rest of his family.”
The man who spent the most time working with Jones throughout those 18 years, Don Shula, spoke of the team concept that Jones worked by.
“I really appreciate all Eddie did for me and the Dolphins during the time we were together,” Hall of Fame Head Coach Don Shula said. “I can’t say enough about his support of the football team. I’ve always felt teamwork in all phases of the operation was the key to building a winning team, and Eddie Jones was the consummate team player. He would drop by my office almost every day and ask how things were going. He wanted to do everything that he could do to help us win and that’s all you can ask of a front office executive. I want to pass along my condolences to Marilyn and his family.”
At a time when the Dolphins face an crisis of identity and a longing for a return to greatness, it’s sad to see someone who gave so much to the Dolphins pass away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. His cause of death has not been released. The above quotes and the accompanying picture are courtesy of MiamiDolphins.com.