Linden High School has a new head football coach after the board approved the hire at Thursday’s meeting. Demetrice Jackson, the Patriots’ defensive coordinator for each of the last two seasons, will ascend to the top spot in the program.
“It was huge and a blessing from above. I’ve worked with Coach (Andro) Williams the past two seasons, I know what type of guy he was and what he brings to the table with his work ethic and his physicality,” Jackson said of the opportunity, which became available when Williams left for W.S. Neal last month. “I know that I do have some big shoes to fill. I told the superintendent that I knew it would be hard to fill those shoes but that I would work as hard as I can to get to the level that he had this program at.”
An alumnus of Francis Marion High School and the son of renowned basketball coach Woodie Jackson, Demetrice opened his coaching career as an assistant at Brantley in 2011. Jackson spent two seasons as defensive line coach under David Lowery and two more under Ashley Kilcrease.
“His pedigree, his family history, his daddy being one of the winningest coaches in the state of Alabama in basketball, but more than that, it was who he is,” Dr. Timothy Thurman, Linden City Schools superintendent, said of the decision to hire Jackson as head football coach and athletic director. “He won a state championship at Brantley. He served as defensive coordinator the last two years. We finished first in the state in defense two years ago and second in the state last year.”
“Starting in 2011 at Brantley, which was my first year there, I worked under David Lowery. Coach Kilcrease was my head coach in 13 and 14. Both of them worked extremely hard. They loved on the kids, however, if they needed an iron fist they would handle them with an iron fist as well. Working with those three guys, I know I’m going to have to work hard to get some championship level coaches along with what we have now,” Jackson said before turning his attention to the work ethic Linden players already have by virtue of their 10 seasons under Williams. “That’s all of what the kids know. If you’re not working them hard enough, they’ll let you know that they want some more. With Coach Williams winning 100-plus games in the span of 10 years, I know the bar is going to be set high for me.”
Jackson, who guided the Patriot boys varsity boys basketball team to the Class 1A South Regional in Dothan this past season, will draw on his existing relationship with his players as he shapes the Linden program moving forward.
“Just trying to help them be productive citizens when they are not on the field,” Jackson said.
“The kids love him. It’s not just X’s and O’s, we think he’ll be a good mentor,” Thurman said. “We think he’ll be here a while. We don’t think we’ll have to go through this process every one to two years.”
Jackson, who followed his career at Miles College with an arena football run that saw him play for the Cincninnati Junglecats, Austin Wranglers and Albany Panthers while winning two championships, will get to work implementing his schemes and philosophies in the coming weeks.
“I’ve been with Coach Williams two years and he was a Wing-T guy. We’ll look at running the spread out of the Wing-T sets. That’s what we’re going to kind of incorporate into what we do now,” Jackson said. “Defensively, we’re going to continue to run the 3-4 set.”