The search for a new head football coach and athletic director at Escambia County High School officially ended last Thursday, February 23, when the Escambia County Board of Education accepted the recommendation of a six-member search committee and hired Aliceville High’s Rico Jackson to fill the vacancy.
Jackson, who led the Yellow Jackets to the 2016 Class 2A finals, was one of 64 applicants who sought to replace Royce Young, who posted a 4-26 record during three seasons at ECHS. Jackson will officially take charge of the school’s athletic programs today (Wednesday, March 1) after two years at the helm of the Aliceville program.
According to information posted on the Alabama High School Football Historical Society website, his coaching record at the school is 19-7.
Aliceville earned a postseason berth in Jackson’s first year at the helm. Last season the Jackets lost their first game, then reeled off 13 straight wins before dropping a 28-0 decision to Fyffe in the state title game.
Jackson did not respond to an emailed request for comment on his new job, but according to published reports, he regards the move as a “bitter-sweet” one. He said he hated to leave Aliceville, but noted that Escambia County is a lot closer to Mobile, where his parents live.
“It’s very difficult to leave,” he said. “I had a great situation here at Aliceville that I hate to leave. But, at the same time, I’m very excited about the opportunity at Escambia County, and I think we can do some good things there. This is an opportunity I just can’t pass up. I’m familiar with the area. I love the area. I can’t wait to get started.”
Prior to taking the Aliceville job, Jackson coached for three years at Fairfield High, where his Tigers went 16-14 and did not reach the postseason.
The former Alabama State University linebacker said he feels that the ECHS football program can be turned around.
“I’ve done my research on Escambia County,” he said. “I think Coach Young did a good job laying a foundation. I know they have athletes, and I know there is good community support there. We will see if we can take the program to the next level.”