Dallas hires Tracy Jackson as new football coach

Jackson spent last three seasons at Woodburn



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New Dallas head football coach Tracy Jackson, left, introduces himself to players at the high school Monday. Jackson last coached at Woodburn High.

Tracy Jackson File

Age:

54.

Coaching stops:

Woodburn (2009-11), Hood River Valley (2005-09), Madison (2002-05), North Marion (1996-2002), Woodburn (1990-96).

Awards:

Mid-Willamette Conference Coach of the Year (2011), Portland Interscholastic League Coach of the Year (2004).

Alma Maters:

Silverton High, Willamette University (defensive back from 1975-80).

DALLAS -- Tracy Jackson has rebuilt plenty of football programs in his 22 years as a head coach.

But the 54-year-old will tell you he doesn't see Dallas as a program he needs to lift from the ashes.

"That's not the way I look at Dallas -- I think Dallas has really good kids and a good community that wants to support football.

"... I think Dallas is a tremendous football town right now."

After 33 applicants were narrowed down to eight interviews that took place in front of a 10-person committee, Dallas athletic director Tim Larson announced Jackson as the school's new football coach Monday.

Jackson, who spent his last three seasons as the head coach at Mid-Willamette Conference rival Woodburn, where he went 11-19, replaces Bill Masei, who resigned after four seasons.

Dallas finished 2-7 overall, 1-6 in the MWC (seventh place) in 2011.

Larson said the main thing he was looking for in a head coach was his plan for not just the football team, but for the program.

"My big overriding goal is we wanted someone to come in that's going to build the program K-12," Larson said. "What goes into that, and how that's sustained over time ... I would say Tracy nailed it."

Jackson proved his worth for the Bulldogs (5-5, 3-4) last season, when he was named the MWC Coach of the Year after leading Woodburn to its first regular-season winning record since 1991 -- when Jackson was also the coach.

Woodburn defeated Dallas, 36-16, in the 2011 regular season finale.

Jackson's first head coaching job was at Woodburn (1990-96). He then moved to rebuild programs at both North Marion (1996-2002) and Madison (2002-05).

"I've got an awesome life -- I've taken an interesting path as far as work goes, but it's been good," said Jackson, who retired after 30 years of teaching physical education last year.

"I've mostly gone into situations that were deemed tough -- when I was young, that's all that was really out there for young coaches. I just wanted to be a head coach from the time I was in high school -- that's what I wanted to do from Day 1."

Jackson said North Marion was "worse than bottom of the barrel" when he arrived, and "we had a winning record the second year."

Six years later, he took over an 0-9 team at Madison where Jackson said there were "probably 25 people in the stands." In his final year, that number was 3,500.

Jackson moved on to Hood River Valley (2005-09), but maintained that "it wasn't a good fit," before he returned to Woodburn.

At Dallas High, Jackson plans to implement the Wing-T offense, one which he'd like to instill into the area's youth football programs as well.

But above all, his coaching style is less strategy and more people-first, the former Willamette University defensive back said.

"Somebody told me this once and I think it's crucial -- I think you coach like you would want to have somebody coach you," he said.

"I really believe in building relationships with players and really building `family.' People talk family all the time, but I think that where it starts is a genuine interest and care for your players and them caring for you."

Jackson will bring his sons, Matt, 27, and Andy, 25, both former college football players themselves, along with him to Dallas to serve as assistants.

Matt, who played at College of the Siskiyous (Calif.), will work with the quarterbacks and defensive backs, while Andy (four years at Western Oregon) will coach the linebackers and running backs.

More assistants will be named later.

Jackson said one reason the Dallas job appealed to him was a potential opportunity to get back in the classroom. So far, he has the ability to be a substitute in the Dallas School District.

"I retired from teaching last year and I miss it," he said. "I miss it a lot. I miss the kids, miss that vibe and I'm way too young to retire. I'm a coach and I'm a teacher, and both are parts of who I am, and the opportunity to get back to that again is really exciting."

For now, Jackson remains hopeful for what's waiting for him at Dallas.

"It's looking at the kids on film, and then looking at them wrestle, and then they're kind of doing the same thing in basketball, too -- there's a lot of exciting things happening.

"... These are some good kids. I really believe we could be something really special in a year or two."



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