Former Washington Redskin, Joe Jacoby (1981-1993), will receive his college degree in Workforce Leadership next month from the University of Louisville. He left college more than 30 years ago to play pro football as an undrafted free agent.
Jacoby of course has been a success in everything he's done. He has three Super Bowl rings, member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, and owned a thriving car dealership that he sold in 2008 so he could head into coaching.
So, why get a degree now? Jacoby, who is helping coach football at Shenandoah University (DIII) in Virginia, wants to "walk the talk" when he tells his players to stay in school (and set a good example for his daughters). Jacoby plans to pursue his Masters after that. He finished his current degree online, and if he wishes to take the same route for his Masters there are plenty of options. There are numerous types of online Masters programs out there, but Jacoby might also consider staying at Louisville to finish a graduate degree.
I had the chance to talk with the legendary Left Tackle, who played in 10+ games in eleven of his thirteen seasons, about the decision to get his degree last week.
Coach Jacoby: I want to show these kids what the value of a good education is. Don't let those opportunities slip by. It's something I should have done thirty years ago.
What's the Workforce Leadership degree entail?
Using your life experiences to write stories on things you've done - as a thesis. In my case, it was over the last thirty years. Charity, business, professional football...things I've done off the field. Car dealership, real estate license. And then making a teacher's plan and video you send in to get critiqued on. The experience for me now is that thirty years ago we didn't do things like this with the computer. For me it's the technology and learning that aspect.
Talk about Joe Gibbs as a leader. He seemed to really draw from God and apply that to his team. Did Joe do that for you?
Not to my knowledge. I don't remember that. Things mean different things to us as we age and we go in different directions.
Tell me about the retreat Joe held for the players in Carolina this summer.
There was over 90 players and it was great. There were guys I haven't seen for twenty years. We stepped in the room like we hadn't missed a beat.
Did Joe provide a shed for you guys?
(Haha) No he didn't, but things were improvised. Everybody had a great time. Joe was gracious enough to give to us. It was neat to see Joe and how well everyone has aged. Some guys still looked like they could play.
Do you still follow the Skins and what are your thoughts on this season?
To give you a fair assessment, we're busy on Sundays breaking down our own film and game-planning for the next week. I haven't seen any games all the way through. I read this morning the injuries they're having and shuffling guys in...there's going to be some drop off in production. Switcing Quarterbacks. A gentleman who hasn't started in four years is now out there playing in a football game. John Beck is going to have to work his way into being a good Quarterback. Playing pre-season and no games in four years, in my opinion, it's not going to be instant success. He's probably a very talented individual, but it's going to take time. When you have all the plugs around you that are moving in and out, it's hard to be successful when your OLine has three new starters. Santana Moss and Cooley are out. There's no reliable guy he can relate to that's going to be there.
2-3 weeks of practices can't fix that?
Well, no. They can catch fire. They can click. It's a strange game. With the personnel and timing and all that you might find some hidden gems that step up to the challenge. It depends on the individuals. Will they seize that moment? Let's see how they perform. I still follow them but just what I'm reading, all the media ties this up and tries to make some kind of matter.
Do you run Gibbs offense at Shenandoah?
We run some versions of it. I've incorporated some blocking schemes. And yea, we run the counter.
Do you coach the kids as hard as Joe Bugel treated you?
Haha. No. A little bit better than that.
Here is Joe Jacoby's entire statement regarding his pursuit for his degree. It's a great read. Thanks again to Joe for taking the time to chat and we wish him the best in everything.
Rarely in life does one get a "do over" or in golfing terms a mulligan, but I did. My name is Joe Jacoby and this is my story.
Thirty-four years ago I embarked on my college experience at the University of Louisville. Sadly at the time, I did not take the opportunity seriously. Without completing my bachelor's degree, I left U of L and headed for the National Football League (NFL) spending thirteen prosperous years with the Washington Redskins. While apart of this organization, I played on three Super Bowl Championship teams and was named to the Pro Bowl four consecutive years. Upon retirement from the NFL, I opened a Chrysler Jeep and Dodge franchise and ran it successfully for 15 years.
Even with these personal accomplishments and others under my belt, it truly bothered me that I had not completed my education at U of L. As a father of two daughters who are dedicated students and have a deep love for learning, I watched them succeed in school. Seeing their academic success, it made me wonder if I too could go back and get my degree. I wondered if I had the skills to do the work, learn new ideas, and have what it took to complete this endeavor. When I sold my business in 2007, my new path in life became clear. I decided to go back to school, returning to my roots and pursuing coaching as my new career. The game that I loved, football, was calling me once again. I decided that my mission was to coach, teach and mentor young men. I wanted to encourage my players to stay in school and get that degree because it will be the best decision they will ever make. I knew that these words would ring "hollow" to them knowing that I was lacking that elusive credential. It was important to me to be able to back up my words with my own positive actions.
I am proud to be a Cardinal; the only school where I wanted to attend was U of L. I began the journey back by searching degree programs that offered online classes and discovered the Bachelor of Science in Workforce Leadership degree program. It offered distance education classes which was perfect for me since I live in Virginia, and gave me the opportunity to be apart of U of L. The online classes gave me the flexibility to work and attend class virtually. I loved the availability of advisors whom helped me at every turn and supportive professors. Additionally, I enjoyed meeting new friends online through the discussion boards and chat rooms (who knew you could do a group project online)! The classes were interesting and relative to my business world as well as my coaching endeavors. I did have concerns about going back to school similar for any "over" 50 year old attempting to enter the world of academia with the following questions surfacing in my mind, "Could I do it? Did I have the technological skills needed to achieve success? Could I write a research paper in APA format? Failure was not an option.
I am very fortunate to be a part of the Workforce Leadership program within the College of Education and Human Development. I want to thank the University of Louisville for providing me this life changing opportunity to complete my degree. I am deeply indebted to you. You have imparted in my life wisdom and enhanced my world greatly. I would not be where I am today without your support and am profoundly grateful. I want to encourage anyone whom is considering going back to school to do it now. Let not another minute pass by wondering if you can go back to school. You can and the future is waiting for you. Embark on this learning journey, the future is now. I promise you will not regret this decision.
Class of 2011 Workforce Leadership Graduate
Go Cards, Go!!!!