Sonny Jackson, McNeese football head coach from 1987-89, passed away on Saturday surrounded by family at the age of 82.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Sunday at Thibodaux Funeral Home and 10-11 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph Cathedral. Funeral will follow with a Mass beginning at 11 a.m.
Jackson became McNeese’s 10th head coach in football program history in 1987 after leading the Nicholls program from 1981-86. At Nicholls, Jackson won a record 38 games, a mark that still stands for Colonel head coaches.
In his three seasons at McNeese, Jackson coached four All-Southland Conference selections including All-Americans Mike Pierce (defensive back) and Glenn Koch (offensive line), McNeese Hall of Fame running back Tony Citizen, as well as All-Conference DB Kip Texada, who is currently the Cowboys radio sideline reporter.
“Coach Jackson will always have a special place in my heart,” Texada said. “I came to McNeese as a walk-on and in the spring of 1988, he brought me into his office and gave me a scholarship. He gave me an opportunity of a lifetime and changed my life. He was a great man.”
While at McNeese, Jackson coached the Cowboys to wins over teams such as Toledo and ULM while his signing classes were crucial in the rebuild of the Cowboy program that has since been one of the most successful programs in the FCS.
“I was so sad to hear about the passing of Coach Jackson,” McNeese Athletics Director Heath Schroyer said. “He was a man who impacted lives and made a difference on and off the field. He will always be cherished here at McNeese. His family is in our thoughts and prayers.”
Jackson’s best season came in 1988, when the Cowboys closed the season with three wins in their final four games to clinch a winning season at 6-5.
While at Nicholls, Jackson posted winning seasons from 1984-86, including a 10-2 mark in 1986 to lead his team to the Gulf Star Conference title and the school’s first berth in the NCAA 1-AA playoffs. He posted a 39-28-1 mark at Nicholls and a 52-48-1 record in his career.