Jackson, who began his career at Chamblee as an assistant coach in 1972 — taking his first head coach position at Forsyth County in 1976 — spent 19 years as a football coach in Cherokee County.
He first began working in the county as Etowah’s head coach in 1986.
He would then take the reins at Sequoyah as their first head football coach in 1990 and would stay with the Chiefs for eight years before leaving to coach at Milton — his high school alma mater.
Though Jackson retired from teaching in 2005, he was hired on as an assistant coach at Creekview, where he spent the last seven years of his coaching career.
On Aug. 11, Jackson was treated to a retirement party with over 180 friends and family, many of them being his former colleagues.
Rather than resemble a more formal occasion, the party was decorated with football field tablecloths, banners hung in Jackson’s name and so much of Jackson’s football memorabilia that three tables were needed to hold it.
For Ronnie’s wife Vicky, they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“He wasn’t just a football coach,” she said. “Football has been his life.”
“It was incredible,” Ronnie said. “There was a huge turnout. It seemed like every coach that I’ve ever known was there. It meant the world to me to see the people that I had shared so much time, blood, sweat and tears with there.”
One of those coaches was Bob Eddy, the recently retired principal of Creekview who hired Jackson in 2005.
For Eddy, who has known Jackson since 1985, the large turnout came as no surprise.
“He has had an impact on so many people,” Eddy said. “Whether it was his players, coaches or other colleagues, he influenced everyone around him. The tremendous turnout was a testament to him.”
Eddy was quick to praise Jackson for what he described as an excellent career.
“He was an excellent football coach,” Eddy said. “He has a brilliant football mind. My son played for him at Creekview, and I could not have asked for a better head coach.”
For Sid Maxwell, who coached under Jackson at Sequoyah before succeeding him in 1998, Jackson’s on-the-field success was only matched by the man that he was off of it.
“To sum it up, he was passionate,” Maxwell said. “He touched everyone around him with his passion. It was his style. You could tell that he had a love for what he was doing. He is a great man. I hope, for myself, that I can touch half the people that he has touched. If I do, I will have had a very successful life.”
Despite the retirement, however, neither Eddy nor Maxwell believes that Jackson will manage to stay retired for long.
“I know Ronnie pretty well,” Eddy said. “I know he loves football, and he loves to coach. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took a year off and then came back.”
For Jackson, it was the first question that almost everyone asked him at his party.
“The other night, it seemed like everyone was trying to recruit me — bring me to work,” he said.
Maxwell readily admitted that he was one of the first to do so. Though Jackson refused to rule out the possibility of a return, he remained focused on the year ahead.
“I just want to take a year off and see how it goes. I’ll still probably be at the games on Friday night, but I’d like to watch the games from a different angle.”
For Vicky, this means that she gets to spend more time with her husband on Friday nights.
“Now, I’ll actually get to sit next to him,” she said. “But with so many great friends, if he wants to go back, I’m sure the door would be open.”