By Dorothy J. Gentry
Former teammates, players, coaches, and WNBA players took to social media to mourn Tiffany Jackson who passed away on Monday evening at the age of 37 from cancer.
Jackson was named head coach of Wiley College’s women’s basketball team earlier this year in April. She is a former assistant coach and standout player at the University of Texas in Austin and was a member of Duncanville High School’s 2003 State Championship Team. Jackson finished with 16 points to earn game Most Valuable Player honors for Duncanville, which went 39-1 that season.
She was also Texas’ Gatorade Player of the Year that year and was both a McDonald’s All-American and a WBCA All-American, and was the consensus No. 2 national prospect. She was also a well-known member of DFW Elite select basketball team. Jackson was recently inducted into the Duncanville ISD Hall of Honor.
Condolences poured out on social media as news of her death became public.
“Gone, but never forgotten. RIP Tiffany Jackson. 🧡” – University of Texas Women’s Basketball posted on Twitter.
“We lost a beautiful soul to cancer today. My heart is so heavy. You never know what people are going through. Please always remember that. Prayers 💗💗💗” Nikki McCray, assistant coach for Rutgers women’s basketball, posted on Twitter.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again!!! A lot of girls growing up wanted to be like Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi. I wanted to be like Tiffany Jackson!!! You will be missed!!!” wrote Mesquite Head Girls Basketball Coach Kelsi Baker on Twitter.
Yolette McCuin, head women’s basketball coach at the University of Mississippi posted: “My goodness another Angel TJack has gone to the heavens. Life is so short! Tell the ones that you love that love them daily. RIH 🕊❤️”
DFW/Elite Basketball posted on Twitter: “Prayers for the Jackson family. A beautiful mother, daughter, sister, teammate, coach, mentor and friend. Touched the lives of many, just like her father. RIP Tiff. #TJack”
And former WNBA player, head coach and Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings posted: “Wow… just hearing about Tiffany Jackson 😭 Prayers up to her family. Such a blow as she was absolutely amazing Going to miss her smile, presence and heart for others ❤️ #RIH Catchings also played for Duncanville High School and led the team to its 1997 championship.
After Duncanville, Jackson went on to a legendary career at the University of Texas from 2003-2007 under Hall of Fame Coach Jody Conradt. Jackson played in 123 games with 103 starts. In her freshman year with the Longhorns the team went 30-5 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and finished with a No. 4 final ranking in the Associated Press Poll. Jackson was named the National Freshman of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and ESPN.com.
In a prepared statement on the university’s website, Conradt said: “Tiffany had a great career and was an impact player. She was recognized for her all-around game and the fact that she was tremendously mobile and could play multiple positions. She was beloved by teammates, and we share in the sadness of her passing.”
Current Texas Head Coach Vic Schaefer said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing Tiffany Jackson, one of the greatest players in the history of Texas Women’s Basketball.
“From her days as a player for DFW Elite to her days as a player at The University of Texas, Tiffany has meant so much to so many people in this great state of Texas,” Schaefer said. “I know she was so excited to be the head coach at Wiley College for the upcoming season. She will be sorely missed by so many. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family.”
Jackson is the only person in program history to have accomplished 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 150 blocks. She currently ranks fifth in school history with 1,917 career points, fourth with 1,039 career rebounds, third with 313 steals and seventh with 181 blocked shots. She is one of only five players in program history to record more than 1,000 career points and more than 1,000 career rebounds.
She also made her mark in the WNBA. She was selected by the New York Liberty with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 WNBA draft. Jackson would play for nine seasons in the WNBA with the Liberty, Tulsa Shock and Los Angeles Sparks.
Jackson earned a degree in Applied Learning and Development from The University of Texas in 2013.
According to the university, Jackson was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in September 2015 and went into remission in May 2016 after treatment. She joined the Longhorns as an assistant coach in May 2018 after retiring from professional basketball.
She was named head coach of Wiley College in April 2022. Services for the beloved player and coach are to be determined.