BRYAN, Texas -- The Brazos Valley Community is mourning the loss of Eric Jackson, a long-time educator, and head coach of Rudder High School's Basketball team. He passed away last night from an unknown health condition. Jeremy Cunningham, his assistant coach and longtime friend, left the hospital Jackson was at moments before he passed.
"I kind of wrestled last night with the fact that I left too soon, having foolish thoughts, Jeremy said. “Knowing Coach Jackson, he timed it just right, he didn't let me see that. "
A shoot around happening the day after Coach Jackson passed. In the three years he was the head coach of Rudder High School's basketball team, his team made it furthest in the playoffs out of all schools in the area. It's an accomplishment that broke school records.
Though Coach Jackson’s body was failing him for 5 years, his dedication to his players remained strong.
"It was always bigger than basketball for these kids,” Jeremy said. “For them kids to see him every day dealing with his sickness he came every day. There were many days you would see Coach Jack on the sidelines throwing up. "
It's moments like those that point guard Korbin Cunningham never took for granted.
"While we were playing, he was also sick,” Korbin said. “But he didn't want to go to no hospital. He wanted to fight and he wanted to show us that 'If I’m fighting, you should fight too.' He didn't want any slackers. He wanted 110%."
While Coach Jackson has passed, his legacy will continue in these players on and off the court.
"The kid in me wanted to make that cool 'Action Jackson' proud of me,” Jeremy said. "Little brother is doing it like he would have done it."
The rudder Basketball Team is asking for your support cheering them on this weekend when they compete in the All-American Shootout Competition. They're dedicating that competition to Jackson’s memory.