Lending Some Knowledge

Bay City native Carl Jackson spoke to the Bay City Blackcats before their final game against El Campo last Friday. Jackson spent 45 years in coaching at various levels, including the NFL. (Photo by Anthony Maenza)

Lending Some Knowledge

Jackson talks to Blackcats before last game vs. EC


Carl Jackson had many successes during his football coaching career. The Bay City native imparted some of his knowledge to the Blackcats when he addressed the team before Bay City’s final football game of the season last week against El Campo.

He was invited to address the team by long-time friend Thomas Battle. Battle’s dad was a mentor to Jackson when he was growing up in Bay City. It was the second time in the past couple of years that Jackson was invited to talk to Blackcats.

“I usually talk to them about preparation. I usually try to convince people the way you separated from your opponent is through your preparation,” Jackson said.  

Part of what Jackson talked to the team about was playing for pride. The Blackcats had nothing on the line when they took the field against El Campo, but Jackson said sometimes the only thing you have to play for is pride in yourself and your teammates.

“Obviously today, it’s about pride. They aren’t playing for a district championship or even a playoff berth. So it boils down to your pride,” Jackson said. “You want to try and send the seniors out with a victory and hopefully start a victory string for next year. We’ll talk about keys to victory. The only thing a player can control is how hard he plays and try to convince them to play hard all the time. Good things happen when you play hard.”

Between the junior high, high school, college and professional ranks, Jackson, 79, coached for a total of 45 years. After graduating from Bay City Hilliard High School, Jackson earned his degree from Prairie View A&M before embarking on a coaching career.

The highlight of Jackson’s career was winning a Super Bowl as part of the coaching staff of the San Francisco 49ers in 1995. The Niners defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26 for their fifth Super Bowl title. Jackson coached the running backs for the 49ers from 1992 to 1997. During his tenure in San Francisco, the Niners had a 60-20 record. Ricky Watters was the featured running back with those teams and Tom Rathman served as his fullback.

He started his coaching career at the junior high level in the Aldine Independent School District. He went on to coach at the high school level in Port Arthur before he got his first collegiate coaching job at the University of North Texas with the College Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry in 1976. Jackson went on to be a part of Fry’s staff at the University of Iowa.

Following his stint with the 49ers, he came back to Texas and coached with the University of Texas in 1998 before going back to Iowa for a second coaching stint from 1999 until his retirement from coaching in 2007. He spent a total of 22 years coaching at the University of Iowa. During his time there, the Hawkeyes won five Big 10 titles and went to three Rose Bowls.

Jackson coached a number of running backs that went to have NFL careers. Among them was Ricky Williams, who won the Heisman Trophy with the University of Texas in 1998.

When he retired from the University of Iowa, he stayed up in Iowa City, Iowa for several years before coming back to Texas to live.

He currently lives in Pearland and does some fundraising for his alma mater, Prairie View A&M.

“I still follow high school football and college. I went to school at Prairie View and I do some fundraising for them. I try to stay active,” Jackson said. “I had a good career and enjoyed what I was doing.”

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