In the community, Schools

Jacobs eager to step into new role as Viking athletic director

VALE – Jeff Jacobs wants to help people.

 “If there is someone out there that needs a hand, I need to get up and be at the right spot at the right time if they need me,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs was recently selected as the new Vale High School athletic director. He replaces longtime athletic director Tom Snook, who retired in June.

Jacobs is not new to Vale High School. A 1985 Viking graduate, Jacobs was born and raised in Vale, played football for the Vikings, served as an assistant coach and then taught history and P.E. at the high school until 2010.

For the past five years he’s taught at Crane High School.

Yet he said he always wanted to get back to his hometown.

“No. 1, I’m a Viking and I missed my people,” he said. “I feel like I can bring a little something to the community. So, I’m happy to share.”

Jacobs, 56, said he left teaching in 2010 to go into private sector and worked in the insurance business.

That venture didn’t work out.

“My whole life I’ve been a round block that always fit into a round circle. When I went into insurance, I realized right away that I was a square block trying to force myself into that circle,” he said.

Jacobs said his life hasn’t been without challenges, both personally and professionally, but he’s always tried to focus on the moment.

“If something goes sideways, I know it won’t last forever and I will get myself back on track,” he said.

As a youngster, Jacobs said he wanted to be a pro football player, until he realized a key fact.

“I didn’t know I was small,” he said.

Jacobs pointed to key moments in his life – the mentorship of a teacher, meeting his wife, Melissa, the birth of his children – that helped mold his outlook.

“I focus on the good in people, not the bad. I have some good and some bad. But focusing on the good allows me to be positive,” he said.

Jacobs and Melissa have three children – Taylor, 30; Zac, 27; and Grace, 24. All three graduated from Vale High School. 

He said he is “still smitten” with Melissa, whom he met in high school.

Jacobs said his chief challenge in his new job will be his inexperience.

“I am going to make mistakes but I am a quick learner. This will be an opportunity. The opportunity to learn something new at this age of my life is very stimulating to me,” he said.

Jacobs said as athletic director he sees the entire Vale Viking program as one big cohort.
“Our team includes athletics, all the students, and the staff and the whole community. It is a giant community of Vikings. They’ve been taught how to win,” he said.

Jacobs vowed to be accessible to parents and students.

“I always want to give everyone the opportunity to be heard because there is value in that,” he said.

Jacobs said he believes in the ability for people to talk straight to each other.

“We complain to other people but we don’t sit down and break bread. Let’s talk, let’s get it out in the open. I think that is missing in our society,” he said.

Jacobs said he likes to fish in his free time. He also enjoys playing Frisbee with his two Australian shepherds.

Yet is favorite hobby is landscaping his yard.

“I like to shovel dirt. When I’m landscaping no one is yelling at me or calling me bad names. It’s just me digging a hole where there wasn’t one before,” he said.

New tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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