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Coaching is in Jackie Skipper's genes (3225 hits)

(Eleventh in a series)

Considering his family history, its hardly a surprise to find Jackie Skipper coaching football.

His grandfather, the late Johnnie Pegues, was the final head coach at Morehouse High School prior to integration and went on to become defensive coordinator and head track coach at Bastrop High. In addition to coaching, Pegues was a longtime official in the SWAC.

I guess you could say my grandfather had something to do with where I am today, Skipper smiled. A lot of people knew him or knew of him. He coached everything. I didnt find out until recently that he won a state championship in girls basketball.

Skippers grandmother, Princess Pegues, is a retired Bastrop High teacher and was recently named as national president of the Womens Missionary Council.

Arguably the best offensive lineman in Bastrop High history, Skipper was a two-time All-State Class 4A selection. Along with his football exploits, he finished state runner-up in powerlifting and threw the discus and shot put for the Rams 2002 district championship track team.

When signing day rolled around in February of 2002, recruiters shied away from Skipper because he didnt fit their mold. Consequently, he bucked a family tradition by signing with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

I grew up a Southern Jaguar, Skipper said. My granddaddy, my grandma and all of their kids went to Southern, but things didnt work out for me. I was too short. Southern wanted some tall linemen. I dont have any regrets, though.

Southerns loss turned out to be UAPBs gain. A three-time All-SWAC honoree, Skipper earned All-America honors and won the Division I-AA Rimington Trophy as the nations outstanding center as a senior.

At UAPB, Skipper played alongside guard Sidarren Freeman. The former college teammates now share the title of co-offensive line coach.

Skipper and Freeman are in charge of rebuilding an offensive line with only one returning full-time starter.

After a summer of hard work, Skipper is anxious to see the results in practice this week.

Weve had eight consistently showing up that really worked, Skipper said Monday afternoon prior to the Rams first official practice. Today, well start seeing whether they are going to reap the rewards from this summer.

Bastrops workouts werent limited to lifting weights in the air conditioned fieldhouse. Skipper and Freeman had the group pulling a weighted sled and flipping tractor tires in the searing heat.

A lot of our linemen have a good work ethic, Skipper said. That sled is a challenge.

Skipper says he and Freeman share a similar philosophy that goes beyond football.

Coach Free and I want to show the kids a world other than football and give the glory to God thats what coaching is all about, said Skipper, who played and coached for former Bastrop High coach Brad Bradshaw. Thats something coach (Thomas) Bachman brings to the table. He really wants to help the kids off the football field as well as on the field. Coach Bradshaw did that, too, for years and I think coach Bachmans going to keep that going.

Skipper spent three seasons at BHS (2007-09), before assisting Kevin Thomas at Morehouse Junior High last season. Skipper cut back his schedule last year in order to spend more time with his wife, Jineane Skipper, and newborn daughter, Alyssa Skipper.

I needed the extra time, Skipper said.

Upon receiving his degree in social work from UAPB, Skipper played one season for the Cincinnati Jungle Cats of the Arena2 League. It was a forgettable experience.

We went 1-15 and I fractured my knee, Skipper recalled.

A CECP coach, Skipper is employed as a family service worker at Head Start. Still, Skipper finds that he gets just as pumped this time of the year as he did during his playing days.

Im excited about the season, Skipper said. Its time to put everything together now. Theres no more waiting.

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Sunday, August 21st 2011 at 5:49AM
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