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Sunday, May 26, 2024

VPCC Honors Longtime Athletics Contributor

VPCC president Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon hands a basketball signed by players from her first championship team to Angela Jackson. (VPCC)

HAMPTON — Angela Jackson has been involved with Virginia Peninsula Community College for 44 years, starting out as a student, then becoming a full-time employee, and making her mark in athletics.

Jackson played one season on the men’s basketball team before a women’s team was formed, coached the men’s and women’s teams, has been an adviser, the coordinator of athletics, and a member of athletics operations.

Close to 300 people turned out at Warwick High School on Oct. 21 as the college honored her at “Gator Madness,” a celebration of the past and present that kicked off the 2023-24 basketball preseason.

Chris Moore, the college’s director of athletics, said the honor was long overdue.

“When you do 44 years in anything that’s amazing, especially when it comes with the type of commitment and time that’s put into this,” Moore said. “It was important to honor her. She’s been in every facet of this program as a player, a coach, operations, administration and as the coordinator of athletics. I think that’s something that deserves to be recognized.”

A female coaching a male sport on the collegiate level in the mid-1980s and early 1990s
was unusual, but Jackson had no issues from her players because they lobbied for her to be the coach. She had been helping and often took over when the head coach was late or couldn’t attend practice.

The same attitude didn’t come from opponents or officials, many of whom didn’t respect
her or the team since it was led by a woman, VPCC said.

Jackson still bristles when recalling the time a tournament organizer didn’t hand her the
championship trophy. Instead, he placed it on the gym floor and left.

In addition to coaching, she worked full-time at the college from 1982 to 2001, first in the
bookstore, but also in Workforce Development, Student Services, and Allied Health.

“But I never left (the college),” Jackson said, always finding a way to stay involved in
athletics on a part-time basis.

She stopped coaching the men’s team in 2005 after relinquishing her role with the
women’s team about a decade earlier. Since then, she has served in a variety of roles, including overseeing all the athletic teams until 2013 before becoming part of athletics operations.

Angela Jackson reacts after Chris Moore, director of athletics, shows her a collage with photos and a story highlighting her time at VPCC. (VPCC)

At the “Gator Madness” ceremony, Jackson thanked her family.

“They were very supportive of me from Day 1,” she said before also thanking her mentors, former players and predecessors.

The late Dave Grant, former student activities coordinator and a counselor, hired her as coach. Robert Chapman, who was in the Veterans Affairs office and started the athletics program, allowed her to play basketball with the guys on the Veterans’ team.

“I always want to recognize it was because of him and Robert Chapman that I’m here,”
Jackson told the crowd. “I thank them and the whole community. I thank you so, so much. I have always wanted to give back to the students because someone was there for me.”

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