Andrew Jackson had jokes for days.
“He could get them to laugh, but at the same time he could get on them tough and they would know that he still loved them.” LBJ head football coach Jahmal Fenner said.
Jackson died of cancer in December, and while he may not be there physically, Fenner and the Jaguars still feel his presence.
“I can’t say there’s a day that’s gone by that I didn’t think about him,” Fenner added. “Look at my phone and try to call him -- I think about him all the time.”
A foremost football and life mentor, Jackson said this about Fenner at the start of last season.
“To know that I was the reason he wanted to be a coach,” Jackson said. “And to see him following in my footsteps, it’s a wonderful feeling, so you know what you did on Earth wasn’t in vain. I see me in him.”
It’s a comparison Fenner sees as an incredible compliment.
“He molded me.” Fenner said. “Being that I played for him and I was a quarterback and he was the offensive coordinator. So we spent a lot of time together and he developed that respect for me just knowledge for the game and being able to understand the concepts and really just being a solid person.”
Now the Jags plan on honoring Jackson by living out his lessons daily.
“Work hard. If you work hard, he’ll find you a spot to play.” senior quarterback Brian Batts said.
More than any spoken words, it’s his actions that will stick. Jackson remained on the sideline last season and while his physical condition worsened, his faith remained undeterred.
“I think they learned how strong he was and I think they are able to look at him and apply it to themselves and say you know what if Coach Jack could be that strong at that time in his life you know what I’m going through I should be able to be strong and try to overcome it.” Fenner added.
Together -- “Jack Strong” -- they’re moving on.