AUSTIN (KXAN) — LBJ head coach Andrew Jackson passed away on Tuesday at the age of 50, a member of the football staff confirmed to KXAN.
The longtime Central Texas football coach was diagnosed this spring with stage IV esophageal cancer that had spread to his liver. Despite his diagnosis, Jackson continued to coach the Jaguars throughout the season and into the playoffs.
While cancer took an obvious toll on Jackson, he was at every game this season, except for one. Most games were spent in the press box, but one notable exception came in their game against Travis where he was roaming the sidelines and coaching his team like he had done the previous four seasons.
It was no coincidence that the Jags had lost to Austin High the week before in the only game Jackson had missed in his tenure at LBJ.
During practices, Jackson would be as hands-on as possible, but he had to spend most of the practice in his car parked in the shadow of a tree to help preserve his energy. In his absence, assistant coach Jahmal Fenner, who played quarterback under Jackson at Reagan High School, took over head coaching duties.
Jackson took over the Jags in 2013 and compiled a 39-20 record, leading LBJ to the playoffs in every season except for his first year.
His best season at LBJ came in 2014, leading the Jags to an 11-3 record and an appearance in the state quarterfinals.
But 2014 also provided one of the toughest challenges of his career due to the death of one his players. The weekend after the regular season, senior lineman Jermaine Dillard was hit and killed by a car as he was walking across US 183.
Before taking over at LBJ in 2013, Jackson spent two seasons as offensive coordinator at Manor High School, where his younger brother, Sadd, was the head coach. In 2012 the Mustangs played in the state semifinals.
Jackson first made his mark on the Central Texas football scene at LBJ’s rival, Reagan. He led the Raiders from 1996-2001 and in those six seasons, he led Reagan to 46 wins and appearance in the state semis in 2001.
That was the last time an Austin Independent School District school made it that deep in the playoffs until this year. McCallum will play College Station in the 5A semifinals on Saturday. The Knights are led by Charles Taylor, who considers Jackson one of his coaching mentors.
Next year, Jackson will be inducted into the Sul Ross State Hall of Honor. Jackson was a four-year letterman and two-time team captain for the Lobos.
Earlier this year, the Statesman reported that both his father, grandfather and younger brother Sadd all battled cancer. In 2001, his older brother, Jimmy, died of cancer at the age of 37.