As of Tuesday, August 28, 2018
DALLAS – In early May, Andy Jackson took over for his father, Tracy Jackson, as head coach of the Dallas High School football team when Tracy moved to Portland after six years with the Dragons.
“It has been a great experience so far,” Andy said.
Football was a family sport for the Jacksons. It’s what Andy knew growing up and it became the glue that kept his family together, he said.
His transition into becoming head coach was smooth after being the defensive coordinator for the varsity team for the last six years.
Senior Kenny Chen said he likes the different energy Andy brings to practice.
“There’s a huge difference from last year,” Chen said. “It wasn’t as high intensity, so that kinda made practice a little boring. But this year I’m happy to be here. When I woke up this morning, I wanted to be here.”
His dedication to his team can be seen in the way he interacts with them, on and off the field, said DHS athletic director Tim Larson.
“His passion for developing athletes is obvious at every practice and game. He is very well organized and plans meticulously,” he said.
When Tracy was head coach, his philosophy reached beyond coaching football.
“We want to produce kids who can be good dads, husbands, good employees,” he said.
Andy’s philosophy mirrors that.
“My No. 1 goal is to develop good men and people,” Andy said, which then “helps to lay a foundation in our program, and helps our team develop as the year goes on. I enjoy watching men grow up, and I really enjoy having connections with kids and help them to grow and develop,”
Creating relationships with the young men on the team is another aspect of his philosophy. Just like football was the glue that held his family together, he uses the same analogy for this team. The Dragons are family first, football team second.
“He is committed to doing everything he can to develop great young men,” said Larson.
“He is involved with them as people first and coach second.”
William Button, a senior, said Andy makes the team work hard, but makes sure everyone is having fun.
“He really likes to bring up our energy and push us to our limit,” Button said, “and (he) makes sure we’re having a good time while we’re practicing.”
“He gets us hyped,” Chen said, echoing Button.
For many coaches, the approach of the 2018 football season means looking weeks ahead with a hopeful eye toward the playoffs.
Not for Andy.
“For us, we only focus on one day at a time,” he said. “I don’t talk about wins and losses. If you stay focused on each day, you set yourself up better for game day.”
If there’s anything Andy hopes his team can take away from their time with him, it’s that football is a metaphor for life, a way to prepare you for the adversities of life.
“Real life isn’t going to be easy, so putting us through these situations kind of gives us encouragement that we’ll be able to succeed in life,” Button said.
The Dragons first game is Friday, Aug. 31 at South Albany at 7 p.m.