Earlier this evening, Coaches Efrain, Priscilla, Yesenia, and Josh paid a visit to Western New England University to meet with legendary high school coach Roderick Jackson, as invited guests of Professor Curt Hamakawa - Director of WNEU's Center for International Sport Business.
At a specially arranged interview session prior to Coach Jackson's public appearance, all four coaches were able to direct their questions at a man who's leadership and courage paved the way for greater implementation of the seminal Act, after a continued struggle to gain equality for the girl's high school basketball team that he coached in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Despite being unsuccessful at both the district and circuit court level, Coach Jackson failed to be deterred, and successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to hear his case in 2004, before being awarded a 5-4 decision in his favor in 2005.
Central to Jackson's case lay the fact that - despite the 1972 passage of Title IX legislation - the girl's team that he coached was forced to play in an inferior gym, practice with deficient equipment, and were not afforded the opportunity to raise funds in the same way as their male counterparts. Fed up with the injustices that he perceived, Jackson took his fight to the courts, despite being fired for being prepared to buck the system that had existed for decades.
PC coaches asked a series of thoughtful questions during their private audience with Coach Jackson, and were able to use his responses and ideas to help frame their own concepts of what leadership looks like -- central to a current Project Coach media initiative that will see each coach create a video detailing their growth within the program, and their own individual definition of success as a leader.