A short time ago, Robert Jackson retired as a teacher and head football coach at West Gadsden.
Jackson left with 167 wins, four district and three region titles, and over three decades of rather fond memories of the many young lives he helped to shape.
To coach football at the same school for some 30 years, you not only have to have a certain passion for the game, but also for the school.
Jackson started as offensive coordinator at Greensboro High School back in 1976. And, he took over as head coach, four years later.
“The early years were a little tough for us, we didn't always have the enrollment,” Jackson said. “One year, I went 8-2 with 13 guys at the end of the season. So, I would just look back and see two guys behind me and knew I had 11 on the field. That was one of the best football teams I had.”
As he reflects back on his 32 years at Greensboro and West Gadsden, Jackson says there are many memorable moments.
“So many of 'em. I had to play against my son. My son was quarterbacking for FAMU High School, oh around the 83-84 season. He came over here to quarterback for FAMU High and he beat me,” Jackson laughs. “So, that sticks with me.”
Coach Jackson was also a father figure to many of the boys he coached.
“A lot of times you don't know it until years later. That was the case, but I had some kids come out, all they had was football, they didn't seem to want to follow the rules, at least my rules anyway. And, I would have to kind of use some of that old fashioned tough love on 'em,” Jackson recalls.
The game may have changed a lot over the last 30 years, but Coach Jackson says he never had to change his philosophy.
“The fundamentals of football don't change. You gotta’ block, you gotta’ tackle. Now from there, you can do all the other stuff, but if you can't block and you can't tackle, chances are you're not gonna’ be too successful,” Jackson added.
A 30 year career filled with success and success stories.