• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Steve Jaco named WCHS girls’ basketball coach - 5-25-2017

STEVE JACO was named the new head coach of the Woodford County High School girls’ basketball team on Wednesday, May 17. He replaces Jay Lucas, the longtime head coach of the Lady Jackets, who announced his retirement on March 8. (Photo submitted)

Steve Jaco was named the new head coach of the Woodford County High School girls’ basketball team in an announcement made at the high school on Wednesday, May 17. “I was just thrilled,” said Jaco. “I knew it was the right place for me. I had been offered one other job up in that area, (but) it was not really the job I wanted. I knew that Woodford was the position I needed to be in. I think, for some reason, the good Lord told me that and I was just ecstatic. I’m just so excited. And, seeing the kids being excited, and the parents, it was a great feeling.” Jaco becomes just the fourth head coach of the Lady Jackets. He replaces longtime head coach Jay Lucas, who announced his retirement from his coaching and athletic director duties on March 8. Jaco has 11 years of coaching experience; nine as a head coach. His overall record to date is 184-71. His first head coaching position was at Delta Academy in Marks, Miss., for the 1993-1994 season. There, his team finished 31-4 and made it to the state semifinals. He was also named North A state coach of the year. He then moved on to Dresden High School in Dresden, Tenn., and was head coach from 1994 to 1996. There, his teams made it to two regional semifinal appearances. In May 1996, he accepted the head coaching position at Graves County High School in Mayfield. He coached there for six years and won five district titles and made it to three regional finals. In two of those years, his team led the state in team defense, and in 2000, he was named region Coach of the Year. Also, between 2011 and 2015, Jaco coached travel teams based out of Henry, Tenn. In the summer of 2015, his freshman travel team won the super regional tournament held at Graves County High School. With the win, his team qualified and participated in the National Tournament in Louisville. Following 9/11, Jaco’s life took a turn. He spent a total of 29 years in the Tennessee Army National Guard, but following that day, he decided to go into active duty. “I had been approached to go active duty a few times,” said Jaco. “Then, 9/11 happened and I felt the need to go full-time into the military.” With that decision, Jaco resigned his Graves County basketball position, went into active duty and was deployed three times. In his first deployment from 2006 to 2007, he was a commander of a gun truck company providing security for logistical operations. In his second deployment from 2009 to 2010, he was chief of engineering operations for the 194th EN BDE. Then in his third deployment from 2011 to 2012, he went to Kuwait, Afghanistan, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Qatar. There he served as battalion commander and had more than 1,200 troops under his command. For his three deployments, Jaco was awarded the Bronze Star medal. From 2014 to 2017, Jaco served as the deputy director of construction facility management directorate before retiring from military service in May 2017 as a lieutenant colonel. Following his retirement from the military, he decided to get back into coaching. He talked to some coaches, and it was through a friend he heard about the opening at WCHS. “I had talked to several coaches around the area looking for good opportunities to apply for, and one of my best friends that I really trust, he’s an athletic director in Louisville and has won two state championships, he said the Woodford County job would be a good job, and it’s a good school system, and a good group of kids,” said Jaco. “So, based on that advice, I applied for the Woodford County job and from what I’ve seen so far, he was spot on. It’s a great organization. The administration has been nothing but helpful in working me through all the hoops to where I’m at now. And, I met with the parents and the players and had a really good meeting with them. So, I’m just really excited.” According to Jaco, from doing his research, he knows the level of talent on the Lady Jackets’ team he has inherited. It will just take working with them in practice to see what things they are capable of doing to match his coaching philosophy. “I look what’s coming back from last year,” he said. “I’ve checked out the stats. I know we have our leading scorer coming back, who averaged a double-double (as a) freshman. So, I’ve studied their (stats) pretty extensively, and also what the other teams in the region are losing. … I think there’s a really good chance that I think we’ll compete next year. “I’m basically a man-to-man type of defense, with a lot of pressing. So, I’ve got to teach these young ladies how I see the game to be played, so I can hold them accountable. And, they’re anxious, they’re eager, and I think it’s going to be a good situation.” No question, Jaco is very excited about getting things started at Woodford. “It’s been a great experience so far,” he said. “I look so much (to) being a part of the school system and the community, and I think it’s just an outstanding situation. God’s really blessed me.” Jaco has three children, Gray, 24, Beau, 22, and Nia Grace, 16.

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