Beloved Rio Grande High track coach dies from heart failure

Local Sports

Correction issued below

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of Prentis Jones tells KRQE News 13 the coach has died of congestive heart failure. Jones, a former Lobo football player, spent more than 40 years coaching cross country and track and field at Rio Grande High School. People in the community who knew him, call him an inspiration.

“He’s a Godly man, a very wise man, kind, loving. His pride and joy was his family and his students, his athletes; Track and Field was his life,” said Rio Grande Ravens Assistant Coach Joann Callahan. She ran for Coach Jones as a student and has coached by his side since 1991. She says he was her best friend.

Jones suffered a heart attack last Friday. He passed away on Tuesday. One of the most accomplished athletes, Shelia Burrell, was a two-time Olympian in the heptathlon and now, San Diego State University’s women track and field coach; she remembers Jones’ support throughout her athletic career. “It made me feel good that I made him proud. And, so I could see how proud he was of me and so that alone made me feel good,” Burrell said.

Coach Callahan spoke to Jones this past Sunday and said he sounded fine. Callahan says she didn’t realize how ill he was. Jones was 75-years-old. Coaches are planning a drive-by service at the track at Rio Grande High to honor Jones’ memory. A date is still pending.


Correction: In a previous version of this story, KRQE stated Prentis Jones died of COVID-19. The family of Prentis Jones tells KRQE News 13 the coach died of congestive heart failure and did not die from Covid-19.  We are sorry for the error.

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