In his nearly 30-year career coaching high school football, Andrew Jackson earned himself the reputation of a winner.

Since moving to LBJ, he'd led the team to the playoffs four years in a row, but despite his on field success, it was his work off the turf that is being remembered.

The 50-year-old lost his fight to cancer this week, and while the community is mourning, they're also determined.

"He just made you believe in everything he was trying to teach you," Interim Head Coach Jahmal Fenner said Wednesday.


The unbreakable spirit of LBJ coach Andrew Jackson amid cancer battle

Before coaching, Fenner actually played for Jackson as a student at Reagan High School.

"In regards to being a man, being an athlete, taking care of my family, going to college, all those responsibilities," Fenner said. "It was life lessons delivered through football."

Coach Jacques Gordon was thinking about getting out of coaching after leaving an Elgin High School position.

"Coach Jack told me to come. He told me he needed me to come not only coach, but to love on kids," he said. "He helped me see a new vision for myself, helped me see a new vision for my career, and that's what it was all about. Football was a real small part."

Every person on the LBJ team or coaching staff had a similar story.

Coach Pete Moreno said Jackson was the first to prioritize family and relationships over sports and that he always focused "on the kids."

Despite his diagnosis in March, Jackson coached or attended almost every game this season, and even with his own mortality on his mind, he spent time preparing his team for their future.

"In essence, Coach Jack was preparing us for where we are now," Gordon said.

"He expressed that he was done and he was proud of what we did this year and that he was at peace," Fenner said.

Jackson's efforts to build his team and grow their trust enabled coaches Fenner, Gordon and Moreno to have a path forward.

"He didn't just touch people at LBJ," Fenner said. "He touched the community. Now our community is 'Jag Strong.' When we go out next season we're thinking about representing him the best way. We want to make sure that he's proud, we want him to live through us and we want to represent him."

A visitation for Coach Jackson will be held at the Cook-Walden Capitol Park Funeral Home at 14501 N. I-35 from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

A memorial service will be held at the DELCO Center at 4601 Pecan Brook Drive at 2 p.m. on Monday.