In a busy day in the world of Owls Athletics, we learned late in the afternoon Wednesday of the passing of longtime public address announcer and former athletics communications assistant director Merv Jones. Jones passed away after a long bout of cancer on Monday, he was 54.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Jones attended Temple University in 1984. He graduated in 1988 with a degree in Radio, Television and Film. Shortly after, Jones landed his first job with the Emmy Award-winning sports series Greatest Sports Legends as a producer, director & writer. As an intellect in sports media, Jones also produced the Future Legends series of specials, and co-produced the A&E series, The Gifted Ones, all while working at GSL. While with the program, Jones had the opportunity to work with the likes of: Jim Brown, Deion Sanders, Larry Bird, Flo Griffith- Joyner, Magic Johnson, and many other notable names in the world of sports.
After 5 years, Jones would leave GSL to start his own company – M.T, Pockets Productions with his wife, Andrea. Through his company, he wrote, produced and directed critically acclaimed indie films such as Can’t Wait, a short film which details sexuality, experienced through the eyes of an African-American teenage male. Doing Windows, that was featured in the 1994 Sundance Film Festival’s screenwriter’s lab. And the comedy short, Bills, Bills, Bills, which happened to be featured in the video library of the 2001 IFP Market and the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. During this time, Jones also worked for WPVI-TV6 (6ABC) as a freelance producer for the magazine show, Visions.
A decade after his graduation, the critically-acclaimed producer & writer returned to Temple to become a full time public address announcer for Owls football, and men’s & women’s basketball. Jones would also become an adjunct professor at Temple, teaching the course: “Racism in College Athletics.” In 2000, the voice of the Owls would find another role within Temple Athletics, becoming an assistant director in media relations for the Owls, working directly with numerous Owl sports programs, including the women’s basketball team.
While still being a PA announcer for Temple, Jones would leave his Owls media relations role in 2004 to work with Steve Rotfeld Productions. There he worked on several educational and informational (E/I) projects, including Whaddyado, and ChatRoom. Jones also lent his iconic voice to the 2006 & 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments and the 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in the Philadelphia Regionals.
Merv Jones left an undeniable mark on Owls sports and in the media world as a whole. Patrick Kraft, who just recently announced his pending resignation as AD, said the following of Jones, and his impact on the Owls community:
“All of Temple Athletics is in mourning due to the loss of a great man and Owl, Merv Jones. For three decades, Merv’s booming voice delivered the action of Temple Football and Basketball games to fans at Lincoln Financial Field, the Liacouras Center and McGonigle Hall. A Temple grad and former staff member, he was the consummate professional and beloved by our entire community.”
He is survived by his wife, Andrea, their son Merven, and their daughter Jayna. Jones is also survived by his parents, Mervin & Catherine, his two sisters, Angela & Kathy and his brother, Andre. The family is hopeful to release a link soon, which is related to the funeral service once the details are confirmed so his friends and loved ones can pay their respects.