Catholic High tennis School coach Kyle Jackson, who died in a single-car crash Monday afternoon in Lafourche Parish, is being remembered for more than the titles the Bears won.
The 31-year-old Jackson was a 2007 Catholic High graduate and a former Bears tennis player. He took over as head coach of the tennis team in 2013, winning eight regional titles and four Division I state titles along with one runner-up finish as a nonfaculty coach.
“We brought the team in so they could be together and process this,” Catholic athletic director J.P. Kelly said. “A lot was said and none of it had to do with tennis or winning championships. (The players) talked about the person Kyle was and how he impacted their lives.
“This is huge loss. Catholic High is a Brothers of the Sacred Heart school, and they rely on lay persons to help carry out their mission. Kyle not only did that, he did it effortlessly.”
Catholic wrapped up its fourth straight state title last week in Monroe, edging Brother Martin by one point in the Division I standings. The school planned a candlelight vigil for Jackson at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
"We are heartbroken and saddened beyond words," Catholic principal Lisa Harvey said. "He was an outstanding tennis coach, but more importantly he was an outstanding role model for our students.
"He gave back to the school from the moment he graduated and was extremely active in our alumni association and was always ready and willing to help with anything we asked him do do."
LSU men’s tennis co-head coach Chris Brandi also paid tribute to Jackson.
“Kyle was a great guy, a big supporter of the program. He would bring his kids out and watch and obviously (was) a big fan of Nick Watson (former Catholic player),” Brandi said. “Nick is looking at trying to play his best to honor Kyle.
“I know he’s done a great job. It’s not just that, Kyle was a great person. Always did stuff for other people. I didn’t know him that well, but he always made you feel like he cared about you and he would do anything for you. It’s a really tragic loss.”
William Weathers contributed to this report