After 21 seasons at the helm, Joel Vincent is stepping down as the head football coach at Jackson High School.
Vincent said he decided prior to this season that it would be his final one coaching the Timberwolves.
“A head coach that I worked for a long time ago said something that didn’t mean much when he said it, but it made a lot of sense as this year was approaching: ‘You’ll know when it’s time,’” Vincent said. “I let (the team and administration) know at the beginning of the year that this was going to be my final run as head coach of the Timberwolves. It just felt right.”
Vincent has coached football for the past 29 years, including assistant coaching positions at Everett High School and Jackson. During his time at Jackson, he guided the Timberwolves to four state playoff appearances (2003, 2008, 2009 and 2012).
“It was one of the great privileges of my life,” Vincent said. “To be able to guide that program and the young men who played in it for 21 years, it was an absolute privilege. I thoroughly enjoyed my time doing it.”
This past season was challenging for Vincent, whose father was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer in early September. Vincent missed five of Jackson’s 10 games this year while helping care for his father in Eastern Washington.
Vincent said he’d already decided to step down prior to the cancer diagnosis, but that his father’s health issues only reaffirmed his decision.
“I’ve given a lot to the game of football,” he said, “and now it’s time to kind of pull away and spend my time, energy and efforts with my family and my friends and pursuing other things.”
Vincent said he plans to continue teaching U.S. history and law at Jackson.
“I love teaching as much as I love coaching,” he said. “I love the daily interactions with my students, and I really enjoy being around them while they’re learning.”
Jackson athletic director Blythe Young said she plans to post the head coach job opening soon. The Timberwolves (4-6) wrapped up their season last week.
“He used his passion for football and his experience as a teacher to create an environment in which student-athletes felt supported and cared for,” Young said. “Our football players considered each other and Coach Vinny as one big family.