Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Randy Jackson's next task: Turn around Plano East like he did Poteet
Randy Jackson had the magic touch at Mesquite Poteet, turning a program that won one game during the 2008 and 2009 seasons into a state contender.
Now the veteran coach will try to perform the same trick at Plano East, the state’s largest high school.
Jackson confirmed Friday that he accepted the heading coaching position at East. He’ll replace Johnny Ringo, who unexpectedly announced his resignation on April 29.
Jackson met with Poteet players Friday morning and introduced himself to his new Plano East players in the late afternoon.
“It was an honor and a privilege to coach at Poteet,” Jackson said. “The last three years were a magic carpet ride.”
Jackson performed a 180-degree turnaround for the struggling Poteet program after he arrived in 2010. He took over a team that went a combined 1-19 the previous two seasons and reached the 4A state semifinals in his first year.
Jackson went 30-9 in three seasons at Poteet and was named SportsDay’s all-area coach of the year in 2010.
Plano East has missed the playoffs in four of the last six seasons. It went 5-4 last year and finished fifth in District 10-5A.
“We are so excited about Randy Jackson joining the Plano East football program,” Plano ISD athletic director Gerald Brence said in a news release. “We are three-fourths through spring practice, and I can envision the success ahead. Summer training, camps and all activities related to advancing the season are just around the corner. I am pleased Randy will be leading the charge for the Plano East Senior High football program.”
Jackson said the pieces are in place to turn East – which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 students – into a perennial power.
“When I took over at Poteet the kids weren’t feeling good about being Poteet Pirates,” Jackson said. “Football was not a source of pride like it is now. Poteet had lost 18 games in a row. I think this is a different deal. These guys are mentally in a little better state than it was when I got to Poteet.”
It also helps that Jackson has a proven track record behind him.
“The kids at Poteet had no idea who I was when I arrived,” he said. “I was coming from a 2A school. They knew the American Idol Randy Jackson a lot more than they knew me.”
Jackson made previous coaching stops in Paducah, Mason, DeKalb and Lone Oak, where he amassed a 50-20 record in six seasons.
Poteet standout class of 2015 linebacker Malik Jefferson tweeted Friday: “goodluck coach! thanks for everything and helping us become men. we will keep this train running! Love you coach.”
Poteet will be the third school in Mesquite ISD to undergo a coaching change. West Mesquite’s Mike Overton took over for Rodney Webb at Mesquite Horn, and Jeff Neill filled the vacancy left by Overton.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.