After the departure of 11-year Head Coach Brent Eckley, the storied football program at Jackson had a hole to fill. This isn’t a stop-gap or a place holder type situation. Jackson wanted a tried and true, innovative, passionate and dedicated person to fill Eckley’s shoes and captain the ship for the foreseeable future.
That’s exactly what they got in Ryan Nesbitt, because this man has football in his blood. A product of Columbia, MO, he was a State Champion at Hickman High school with his dad Gregg at the helm. Coach Nesbitt’s dad has since moved on from the high school scene and took up as the Head Coach for Truman State in 2010, with Ryan’s brother Kellen calling the defensive plays for the Bulldogs.
As for Ryan, playing his college ball at Central Methodist led him to get bit by the coaching bug. While still in school, he got a coaching gig with Higginsville. He then moved on to Bowling Green before eventually going back to his roots at Hickman for three years as a Coach and Defensive Coordinator.
See Don Boulware Interview w/ Ryan Nesbitt below:
Now, the nine-year Head Coach and all-time leader in wins at Troy Buchanan High School has been hired as Eckley’s replacement at Jackson. He is just the fifth Head Coach for Jackson since 1969.
As fresh-faced 26-yr-old, Nesbitt took on a floundering program in Troy, one that no one wanted to touch at the time, and turned it into one of the more reputable Class 6 programs in the state. Going without a winning season since 1991, the Trojans needed a shakeup at the helm and brought in Nesbitt.
Success didn’t come immediately, as Troy lost their first 18 games under Nesbitt, but he was building relationships and instilling a winning mentality in the program. Even if it didn’t translate to the scoreboard. Yet.
From a sheer numbers standpoint, the Trojans had been hampered for decades, but under Coach Nesbitt those numbers were beginning to grow. Thanks to community involvement and work with the youth program, Troy saw an uptick. They currently have an all-time high in player participation, and much of that is a result of Nesbitt’s hard work and success on the field.
He went just 7-33 in his first four seasons as Head Coach, but the program was steadily developing, and then in 2018 things just clicked. The Trojans went 36-20 since then and in 2019 they won the school’s first ever playoff games.
In 2021 they had a dramatic, walk-off win over Francis Howell that propelled the team all the way to the State Semifinals. The best finish in school history, and the win over Howell was the first this century.
Nesbitt went 8-3 in his final season at Troy, but the culture he built through relationships, caring and dedication will last for years and years to come.
He won’t be starting from scratch in Jackson though. The Indians are just a couple seasons removed from a State Championship and went 102-27 the last 11 years, so Coach Nesbitt will have a wealth of talent from which to operate with.
Jackson is a diehard sports community, but one could argue the community’s passion lies with the program that first stepped out on the field in 1895. With 127 years of football history there’s no doubt a big spotlight on the new Coach. But Indian fans should be confident that someone with a resume of success will be calling the plays and pushing the buttons to continue their winning culture, and striving to take it to new heights.
Coach Nesbitt, from all of us here at Ameritime Sports, welcome to The Pit.