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Updated: 10/11/2012 08:00:39AM

The Highlander Corner

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David Jones


Coach Miles Bilinski

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Featured player of the week: David Jones

The featured player of the week is David Jones III. David currently resides in Winter Haven while completing his final year as a senior this year at Lake Wales High School. A varsity starter on defense since his freshman year, David plays linebacker and is a running back on offense as well. Currently, recruiters from the following universities have shown an interest in David: Kansas State, Temple, University of Mississippi, Middle Tennessee State, and the University of Missouri. His coach at linebacker is Bob Urwin.

David says he really enjoys playing linebacker and is most comfortable while playing in this position. He says the position best matches his very physical nature. He really enjoys football and would like to continue playing in hopes of opportunities to advance to as high of a level of play that he could achieve and dreams of playing in the NFL someday.

A couple of weeks ago, while playing the Imokalee Indians, a player on the opposing team broke his arm. David and a group of other players from the team formed a circle on the field to pray for their injured opponent during the injury time-out. “We don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” David says.

And what does this young player like to do in his spare time? “I like to lift weights,” he says. David has 2 brothers. One of them is older at age 21 and the other his younger brother age 13. He also has a sister who is 16 years old.

Featured coach of the week: Miles Bilinski

Coach Bilinski began his coaching career when his father, an athletic director for a high school, asked him if he would help to fill in a vacant junior varsity position back in 1990. Today, a full twenty-two years later, he is coaching in his first season for the Lake Wales Highlanders. This is after coaching for years in the very dominant Armwood football program in Hillsborough County.

What are his positions as coach at Lake Wales? Miles serves as coach at both the varsity and the junior varsity levels. For the varsity, he serves as the offensive line coach. For the junior varsity, Coach Bilinski serves as the offensive coordinator.

In Bilinski’s very first year at Armwood, the team lost in the first round of the play-offs. During the coach’s tenure at Armwood, the team was so good that the team at one point had an amazing 29 straight wins. Previous to this streak, Armwood went 13-0. After losing one game to rival Hillsborough High School, they followed the loss by another 13 wins before losing again. The other loss came in a very close game against none other then Tim Tebow’s high school team, St. Augustine Nease.

Bilinski has also been a head-coach in his career. For three years from 1998-2000, Coach Bilinski served in this position while at Bloomingdale High School in Valrico, Florida. However, his real passion is coaching offensive line. He believes that coaching his linemen starts with fundamentals. It is for this reason that he stresses fundamentals such as a lineman’s stance and his steps. Some of the former linemen that he has coached have gone on to play in Division I colleges. In fact, eleven of them have went on to play college ball at this level. Coach Bilinski has had players go to universities such as the University of Florida, University of South Carolina, University of South Florida, Buffalo, Stanford, Navy and Vanderbilt.

On a personal note, Bilinski grew up 25 miles east of Tallahassee in Monticello, Florida. His father is a retired athletic director and head-coach at the local high school where Miles grew-up. His mother grew-up in Mulberry and attended high school at Lakeland.

Miles played for his father during his high school years while his dad was still head-coach. They didn’t win a state championship while he was in high-school, losing in district to the team who would go on to win the state title. However, Bilinski is really very grateful of the fact that his former high school football program had achieved 6 state championship wins. This is the most state championship wins for a Florida public school.

What is his desire as a coach? He wants to see kids grow-up and mature so that after school days are long since past they are integrated into society and have a family. This is what motivates him and he sees football as preparation for the futures that each of his young men will soon find themselves. “Life can be up one minute and down the next,” he says. “I want the players to have the tools and maturity to handle things like a man,” Coach Bilinski continues.

He believes that in order give something that you must have something to give first. For him, this means leading with heart. Bilinski said that he recently read a book called “Lead for God’s Sake!” He said that reading the book reminded him of just how important that it is to be a leader who inspires others that you have to lead from your heart. “If a player is going to become a good leader than he has to learn from a great coach,” Bilinski states.

Heart is something he appreciates in Lake Wales head-coach Rod Shafer. He says that he enjoys working for Coach Shafer. Bilinski notes, “he’s a great guy who coaches for the right reasons.”

Coach Bilinski has two sons, one age 16 and the other 12. He is a graduate of Florida A&M. He also has a Masters degree in education.