Highline High School recently announced that JT Jackson has been hired as their new head football coach.
Jackson will be taking over for outgoing Coach Deontae Cooper, who is moving on to the University of Idaho as the Vandals new running backs coach.
Jackson played football at O’Dea High School, then at Pacific Lutheran University.
For the last two years he has been an assistant coach for Highline, where he learned from one of the best under Coach Cooper.
Jackson lives in the community and his kids go to Highline, so he’s a local guy too.
He was born and raised in Seattle in the Central District by his mom, along with an older sister and older brother.
“Growing up we were always involved in something whether that be after-school programs or sports,” Jackson told The B-Town Blog. “My brother and I spent a lot of time at the Rotary Boys & Girls Club playing basketball. My sister, being eight years older than myself and five older than my brother, took us to a lot of places with her like out to eat or shopping. My favorite place to go with her was the Franklin/Garfield rivalry basketball games.”
Basketball was his first sport, and he said his mom didn’t allow him to play football until the 8th grade for the Central District Panthers.
He’d spend time with his dad on weekends, “going to the park watching his softball games, play hoops, and went to Wrestlemania XIX at then Safeco Field.
He graduated from O’Dea High School in 2012 where I played basketball for two years and played football as well as ran track all four.
Jackson went on to play football at PLU for a year before transferring to UW to continue as a regular student and graduating in 2017.
“I began working as a manager at Finish Line shoe store at Southcenter Mall,” he said. “Later working at the post office for 4-1/2 years before leaving to start a moving company I still run to this day starting in the middle of Covid.”
Jackson now lives in Burien with his family, and he’s been pretty busy – they just welcomed a baby girl last January, and are awaiting the arrival of another in March. He also has three kids who attend Highline High, and one who attends Hilltop Elementary.
“I’ve been a part of the Highline football staff the last two seasons and it’s been awesome,” he said. “Making it to the state quarterfinals each of these previous seasons before eventually going up against two great teams in Lynden, then Enumclaw. This year’s team is a lot different than the past two years, whereas at any moment we could have a 1-play touchdown drive. That’s not to say this year’s team isn’t explosive because we still have a lot of explosive big time playmakers, but I believe we’ll see a lot more grind-it-out drives.”
Jackson said his goal as Coach is to continue the Highline culture that was set by Coach Coop and kids that were here before him.
“As we say, the standard is the standard and we don’t stray away from that,” he said. “We pride ourselves on being an in-shape, tough, physical and fast group. The job coach Coop did was outstanding, leaving some big shoes to fill. I believe I’m up for the challenge after being an assistant to him for two years and watching him closely. This junior and senior class has been a part of the culture change so for them to pass that down and touch the younger class makes my job easier.”
This year the Pirates are moving up to the 3A District, which Jackson said will be a challenge, but adds:
“I don’t see why we can’t be right back in the playoffs competing. I think we’ll surprise a lot of people especially with the coaching change a lot of people don’t know what to expect, but trust me we’ll be just fine. After week ten anything goes and I’ll pick my group every day of the week.”
Jackson offered these closing thoughts of gratitude:
“I would like to thank my Athletic Director Lori Box to continue to steer this ship and believing in me, along with Coach Cooper for giving me the confidence to take over as well as the rest of the staff. My family for giving their blessings to do what I love to do. Lastly to the Burien community, we welcome your support it means a lot to the student athletes. If you see me out in the community don’t be shy to stop and talk. Go Pirates!!”
“Welcome to the Pirate Family Coach JT!”