FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — Freeport High School has named a new head boys’ basketball coach following a lengthy interview process which included coach, community, student and administration input over several days and two weeks.
Fifteen year veteran assistant coach, Thedford (Tee Jay) Jackson, has been named to the post. He has served as the varsity assistant coach under five different head coaches during his time with the Pretzels. He stepped away from basketball this past season due to job constraints, but being named Diane Regan’s successor in the FHS College and Career/Academy Coach Advisor position opened up the opportunity to consider coaching basketball again for the Pretzels.
Jackson also comes with previous collegiate and professional basketball experience including playing for top ranked community college Indian Hills Community in Ottumwa, Iowa. He currently holds several individual records and was inducted into the Indian Hill Community sports Hall of Fame. After completing his two years there, Thedford transferred to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) and helped carry them to two conference championships and a trip to the NCAA tournament. After leaving UTC, Thedford had the opportunity to play professionally. He tried out with a couple of the National Basketball Association (NBA) teams and the Rockford Lightning. In Chicago Bulls country, local basketball fans routinely ask Jackson about his time playing with Michael Jordan.
Jackson spent most of his professional career overseas where he played for Country Austria before settling down in Freeport, where he has lived for over 27 years with his wife, Carmela, owner of Twice As Nice, a local business in downtown Freeport, and their three children Jalen, Isaiah, and Naomi.
“I couldn’t be happier to be joining the rich basketball tradition here at Freeport High School as head coach of the varsity boys’ basketball team, which I believe has a tremendous group of young men ready to make their mark,” Thedford said. “This is an exciting time to join FHS, and my coaching staff and I look forward to helping this team unlock its potential and achieve great things for the school and the city of Freeport.”