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"God just needed a track coach up in heaven": Former athlete remembers coaching legend Barbara Jacket

Port Arthur Lincoln's Barbara Jacket leaves a legacy that will never be forgotten

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Former Prairie View A&M Athlete Lynn Gamble said it best, "Miss Jacket is one of the greatest of all times."

Barbara Jacket. She was a pioneer for women in sports especially for those in track and field. 

"She's help so many young women to be the best that they can be because when I went to Prairie View I learned that Miss Jacket had a system that each year you would improve and because of that you bought into her program."

In 1965 she started Prairie View A&M University's women's track and field program where Lynn Gamble was one of Jackets' athletes 

"Miss Jacket always wanted us to know that when we were competing for, whether it be a track position or a job position, that you couldn't make it close. She said if you make it close you'll lose and what she meant was you always had to stand out above the rest." 

Gamble says Coach Jacket was a tough woman but only because she wanted her athletes to perform at their best whether that be on the track, in the classroom or out in the real world.

 "She taught us to be bigger fish in bigger ponds. You see, we were content with just winning the SWAC conference and things like that and she said instead of being a small fish in a small pond, she said you need to look forward to being a big fish in a big pond. So I kept that with me throughout all the years whenever I was doing something in particular."

A life with no regrets was the one for Barbara Jacket and now she has a legacy that will last forever.

"You've done all you could do here. God just needed a track coach up in heaven."

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