Soul Sessions Podcast: JSU's Terrance Jones
On today's show, Terrence Jones is the assistant athletic director of external operations and stadium management for Jackson State University.
Terrence's knowledge and expertise will bring a new energy to the game day experience and ticket operations for the JSU Tigers.
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Paul: This is Soul Sessions, conversations on culture from Jackson, Mississippi. I'm your host, Paul Wolf, bringing you a look at the people, the places and the events that make us the City With Soul. On today's show Terrence Jones is the assistant athletic director of external operations and stadium management for Jackson State University. Terrence's knowledge and expertise will bring a new energy to the game day experience and ticket operations for the JSU Tigers.
Welcome Terrance Jones to Soul Sessions. Thanks so much for being here with us and telling us more about what you've got in store at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Terrance: Thanks for having me. I'm excited about the upcoming season and looking forward to the possibilities. We're trying to raise another banner here in Jackson.
Paul: There you go. We're going to get right to it Terrance. You've got quite an extensive bit of experience and you're going to serve this really critical role during the game day experience at the Veterans Memorial Stadium with ticket operations and more for folks that might not know you just a little bit more about your background might be helpful to know.
Terrance: Oh, thank you. Thank you. I've been in the profession for quite some time now. I'm originally from North Carolina, so I'm coming to Jackson by way of transplant. But did a tour service in the United States Marine Corps. Left the Marine Corps, decided to go back to school. After going to school and doing all those things I kind of found myself working in the recreation and athletic space. Eventually I began to work at my alma mater. From there it just kind of branched out. I guess my services were requested around a little bit, but I'm coming directly to Jackson State from another SWAC institution. So I'm no stranger at all to what Jackson State is all about.
Paul: You can name drop. Where was your alma mater and where are you coming from?
Terrance: All right. So my alma mater is North Carolina Central. I'm a double graduate. My doctoral work is at Delaware State University and I'm coming here from Alabama State University.
Paul: So you do have the experience. You've got the education and the season is kicking off against Miami this coming weekend and then Memphis. But when it gets here on September 17th, what can we expect for the WC Gordon classic against the Grambling Tigers? Are there some changes at the stadium that fans might want to expect?
Terrance: There are some changes to the stadium in addition to some of the things that we want to double down on, as far as reinforcing. One, always come arrive early tailgate, have a good time and do those things. But we do want to remind everybody that we are a clear bag facility and sometimes it could hinder the process of getting everybody where they need to be when we have to turn people around and things of the like as it relates to the clear bag policy. So clear bag policy is in full effect. No umbrellas, none of the things that we normally would look for that would put you in a situation where you have to go back to your vehicle.
Other than that, we're working feverishly with the city of Jackson. We're working with Visit Jackson, we're working with the state troopers. We're working with everybody that will listen in regards to our traffic plan. One of the things that we did do and that we were able to implement this year is putting our general game day parking online. Doing so you can go to our website, which is goJSUtigers.myimpacttickets.com. There you can pick which game you're coming to. Go ahead and pay for your parking so when you roll up, all you got to do is show our folks the QR code. We can boop, we can beep you in and then go ahead and get you to your space. It keeps people from kind of being out there fumbling around the parking lot, trying to count money, trying to give cards and all that. We can just roll you along.
Paul: I love that. All about safety and convenience. The experience at Veterans Memorial Stadium just made better and better. I'm sure you've got improvements on the field and off the field. Things we won't even see. What kind of a job is it on a daily basis to get a stadium like Veterans Memorial Stadium ready for the upcoming football season?
Terrance: Oh man that's a very good question. There are a bunch of things that it takes. Everything from manicuring the lawns, making sure that the field is cut the right way, putting the paint down. All the things that make game day great. Just getting everything cleaned up and ready to receive our fans, working with concessions to make sure that the sodas will be cold and that the hot dogs and everything come out the way that we always want them.
All in all, it's every step of the way, all the things that people see and don't see behind the scenes. It's kind of the equivalent to working at Disney, where everybody comes to have a good time, but they don't see the work behind the scenes that it take to keeps the wheels turning. So those are the things that myself and my staff, we work on day in and day out to try to prepare for and make sure that everybody will be good to go.
Paul: It's also intentional and so precise. The fans won't even notice all of the small things you all have been doing all along the way.
Terrance: Right. I can tell you what one of the bigger things are and I keep going back to talking about that website. So we have it now where all of our season ticket holders get cards. We have maybe four or five different types, but if you're a season ticket holder, you will receive one of these. Then on the back, it has your QR code, it has your name, your seat location. Then it has the schedule for all the games that we'll play this season outside of the swag championship game. We're still hoping for that, but it has our regular season games listed here. Your QR code that you'll introduce to us to scan is right there and then you'll be able to go in and find your seat or go on to where you need to go.
Paul: I love it. JSU is stepping into the next century in style. I got to ask you. I think you've been here since March, is that correct?
Terrance: Yes. Officially started March 1st.
Paul: You've been here long enough now to kind of get your feel of Jackson, maybe explore some of your favorites. So if you bring your family or friends into town this season for games, now you may not have time to show them around, but if you did, where would you take them if you had 24 hours to show off the City With Soul?
Terrance: One of the first thing I'm going to do is take them by some of the historic land sites. I'd take them down by the old downtown. Fondren is such a nice place too. When you look at Fondren and how they froze it in the fifties and sixties, sort of, that's really nostalgic and that's really nice.
Now, when it's time to eat, I'm definitely going to take them to the M-Bar in Jackson and let them eat their hearts desire for those that have that brunch type feel and all that very upscale and all those things. Then at the end of the day when it's time for everybody to go ahead and get their rest, I'm going to take them to the Westin downtown is really nice. The food and staff are always courteous and friendly whenever we're there. When I've stayed there in the past beautiful, beautiful scenery and it sits right there by the courthouse in the downtown corridor. So it's always really good. Matter of fact, it's only minutes away from the Visit Jackson office.
Paul: Terrance, you've been here long enough now to find out the secret sauce so to speak of what makes Jackson such a special place. What is that to you? Why do you want to make Mississippi's capital city the place to be?
Terrance: I think it's rooted in the thing that's been the driving force for all this time. It's the people. People really, really make Jackson is what it is. They have a heart for this place. They love this place. You could see it everywhere you go. There's not too many places where I've been if people don't have something to remind you of Jackson State or some of the things that are going on in Jackson.
We have the Raiders here. We have the Braves here. Us being sports people, we're always looking for that branding piece. That's always really big. But again, when you think about the totality of things that go on here in Jackson, it has a niche of its own.
I mean, if I'm looking for something to do, I'll look up what's going on in Jackson a lot of times and it'll tell me everything that's going on in and around the city. So Visit Jackson has definitely done a great job branding that piece. That's something too that we're going to look to help push as part of our partnership.
Paul: You are the assistant athletic director of external operations and stadium management for Jackson State University. Terrence Jones. Hey, thanks so much for being here today.
Terrance: Thank you so much for having me, Paul. I appreciate it and I look forward to seeing everybody at the games, whether it's tailgating or coming to cheer in our tiger zone, we'd be happy to have you.
Paul: Soul Sessions is a production of Visit Jackson. Our executive producers are Jonathan Pettus and Ricky Thigpen. To learn more about our organization and mission head to Visitjackson.com. I'm your host Paul Wolf and you've been listening to Soul Sessions.