- Went to Fresno State University on a track scholarship and was an All-American shot-putter.
- Won 15 professional arm-wrestling titles; also competed in weightlifting and bodybuilding tournaments.
- After college, worked four and a half years as a counselor at a Fresno correctional facility for juvenile offenders; later played corrections officers on iCarly (2008) and Desperate Housewives ('09).
- Broke into TV in Knights and Warriors, an American Gladiators clone, in 1992 (Jones' nom de guerre: Lady Battleaxe).
- Was cast as Coach Shannon Beiste in Glee after running into executive producer Brad Falchuk in an L.A. supermarket and asking to be on the show. Jones had previously worked with Falchuk and Glee creator Ryan Murphy on Nip/Tuck and their failed pilot Pretty/Handsome.