PARKERSBURG - Paul Jackson, who guided Parkersburg South to its fourth straight Class AAA state wrestling championship in February, has been selected as the State High School Coach of the Year by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.Jackson, who announced his retirement following the state tournament, led South to nine state championships during his 14-year tenure at the helm of the Patriots. That is the most state titles ever won by any coach in Class AAA.Jackson's teams compiled a dual-meet record of 325-56, including a state record 115 straight victories spanning a four-year period, during his career. The streak ended this January when South lost to Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy of Ohio at the W.Va. Duals.
Jackson's career accomplishments are impressive. He coached 26 individual state champions and had 130 wrestlers place in the top six at the state meet. His teams won 56 tournaments, including the three Ohio Valley Athletic Conference meets in which South has participated. He was selected by his peers as the West Virginia Wrestling Coach of the Year seven times and his 1995 team was ranked 20th nationally.Jackson is the second wrestling coach to receive the West Virginia Coach of the Year Award, joining Oak Glen's Larry Shaw, who was the 2002 recipient. He will be presented with the award on April 29, when Parkersburg plays host to the Victory Awards Dinner.The runner-up was Kelly Church, who led Hedgesville to the Class AAA boys state basketball championship. Other top finishers were Jamie Lusk, whose Westside girls basketball team claimed the Class AA title; last year's Coach of the Year, David Walker of Martinsburg, whose Bulldogs won their second straight Class AAA state championship; Mike Young, who guided Wheeling Central to the Class A football title; John Lowery, who led Jefferson to the Class AAA baseball championship; and Jim Justice, who coached both boys and girls basketball at Greenbrier East, leading the girls to the Class AAA state title.