Ryan Nesbitt, the all-time leader in football coaching victories at Troy Buchanan High, has been announced as the new head coach at Jackson.
Nesbitt coached at Troy from 2014-2022, leading the program to 43 wins and its best postseason finish with a Class 6 semifinal appearance in 2021.
"It's bittersweet for sure," Nesbitt said. "It's turned into home here and what we've been able to do with Troy has been great, it really has. The relationships we've formed and the people here, there are so many things we're going to miss about Troy, but we're also excited about the future and the new opportunity in Jackson."
A first-time head coach, Nesbitt thrived in the long haul with the Trojans.
However, Troy lost its first 18 games under his watch and was 7-33 in his first four seasons.
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"We knew it was going to take time," Nesbitt said. "(Were there) doubts? You bet, and you wonder at the time if you're even good at this. One thing stayed the same, even in the early years, and that was the relationship with the kids and what they were building into the program.
"You could see things being placed for future success, and after nine years when you sit back there's some cool things that happened on the back end of it."
Troy was 36-20 since 2018, including a 10-3 campaign in 2021 that was highlighted by a 23-21 victory against Francis Howell in a district final on Nathan Ryan's 9-yard touchdown catch from Charos Sutton on fourth down as time expired.
It was the Trojans' first victory against Howell this century. The Trojans fell 35-21 the next week to Liberty North in the Class 6 semifinals before an overflow home crowd in Lincoln County.
The Trojans' 7-3 campaign in 2018 was the program's first winning season since 1991.
"We appreciate Coach Nesbitt's commitment to our kids, our school and our community," Troy Buchanan activities director Jason Smith said. "We are truly grateful for the nine years he invested at Troy Buchanan and wish him nothing but the best at Jackson High School."
Jackson won the Class 5 state championship in 2020, was the state runner-up in 2019 and lost in the semifinals in 2021 after winning 26 consecutive games.
Nesbitt is filling the vacancy announced in early January when Brent Eckley left Jackson after 11 seasons and a 102-27 record to become the head football coach at Har-Ber, a school of more than 2,000 students in Springdale, Ark.
In a news release Monday, Jackson athletics director John Martin said: "After a careful and thoughtful search, we look forward to working with Coach Nesbitt at Jackson High School. We believe he will be a great fit for our student athletes and school community."
As a player, Nesbitt won a state championship in 2004 at Hickman for a team coached by his father, Gregg Nesbitt, who has been Truman State's head coach since 2010.
Smith said Troy has begun its search for a new head football coach, with the hope of a hire in March.
"Because of the things that Coach Nesbitt, his staff and his players have built, we feel this is one of the best jobs in the state and expect to get a lot of interest in the position," Smith said.