Alumni Spotlight

Michelle Jones, ’99

By: Michelle Goff
August 11, 2016

For Michelle Jones, it started with softball.

“Bill Baird (former University of Pikeville softball coach), came over to Logan, W.Va., and scouted our softball team,” Jones recalls. “He had me come over for a visit and that’s how I ended up at Pikeville. I was either going to play softball at Pikeville or basketball at Marshall University. I thought, ‘Pikeville’s not that far away. I’ll give it a shot.’”

In 1995, Jones enrolled at UPIKE (then Pikeville College) where she immediately found a home away from home.

“The softball team felt like a family,” Jones says. “I never felt, ‘I’m all alone.’ Most of us lived together in Page Hall, and I was always with my girls. That made it easy and fun and helped me not miss home as much.”

Jones, who had always been interested in science, majored in biology at Pikeville.
“At the time, I was thinking about a career in healthcare,” she says. “I had an interest in physical therapy or something along those lines, and I knew biology would help me in that direction. As it turns out, my background in sciences has helped me in pharmaceutical sales.”

Jones, who’s based in Lexington, Ky., as an executive sales representative for Eli Lilly, will celebrate her 13th anniversary with the pharmaceutical company this October. When she’s not working, she devotes the majority of time to her niece, 7, and nephew, 10.

“I treat them like they’re mine,” Jones says. “They’re my why. They’re why I get up in the morning. I’ve always thought that sports is important, so I do a lot of driving back to Logan to be involved with as many of their sports activities and competitions as possible.”

Jones, who keeps in touch with former classmates and teammates, also makes in back to Pikeville for special events.

“Every year I try to come back for homecoming and the reunion game. We’re thinking about having a game where former players play the current team.” She adds with a laughs, “I might have to do a lot of stretching. It’s been a while.”

Jones continues, “I made so many friends at Pikeville, but my teammate Melanie Joyce and I bonded in a special way. We’re really close to this day. Coach Bill Baird was very influential for the entire team. He pushed us and saw something special in all of us. He’s a great person and so is his wife, Kaye. She was just as involved as coach was in helping us.”

Although Jones, who was inducted into UPIKE’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005, treasures the time she spent playing softball and hanging out with her friends, she cites work study, her involvement in the Baptist Student Union and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and her graduation day as some of her more memorable experiences.

“I missed my high school graduation because I was playing in the state softball tournament,” she says. “So, my college graduation was the first time I got to walk across the stage and receive a diploma. It made it extra special.”

Jones continues, “Going to Pikeville was the best choice I could have made for myself.”

There has never been a better time to be a UPIKE Bear! APPLY NOW
UPike Tigers