Ask the AD - Richard Jackson, Benjamin Franklin High School

This summer, just like we did last summer, CSZ will be doing a segment on the WICKipedia entitled "Ask the AD". In this feature, we'll be conducting Q&A's with various athletic directors around Maryland to learn more about how different high schools run their athletic programs, and what to expect from them in the future.

Today we're featuring Richard Jackson from Benjamin Franklin High School in Baltimore City! Richard spoke with us about a variety of topics, including his love of coaching volleyball!

image (5)

County Sports Zone:How did you become athletic director at Ben Franklin? How did your appointment come about?

Richard Jackson:I became the athletic director at Ben Franklin by first becoming the volleyball coach, and assisting the previous athletic director in an effort to learn as much as I could. Last year, the athletic director decided to step down from the position and our principal approached me about the open position asking me if I was ready to step up. I think being the physical education teacher and coaching several sports already at Ben Franklin made the move to athletic director an easy transition.

CSZ:How has the job changed since you started? How has it stayed the same?

RJ:I'm only one year in, but I've had the privilege of learning from three athletic directors from my time in Baltimore City Public Schools. I think the accountability, time, energy, creativity, and the perception of the position have all grown in the last decade. All of the athletic directors in Baltimore City Public Schools are teachers with some coaching one, two and three sports in addition to their AD duties.

The job has stayed the same in that we are, quite simply, doing more with less on a daily basis when it comes to resources for our athletes. I have an immense amount of respect for my peers in BCPS as AD's because they are challenged daily to find new ways to make things work.

CSZ:How would you rate this past year for Ben Franklin Athletics? Were there a couple highlights that stand out?

RJ:I would say my first year was successful from the standpoint of being able to distinguish myself and develop my leadership style with my community.

We were really fortunate to have our varsity softball and varsity baseball teams play in the Baltimore City championships at Poly on the same day. Being able to bounce back and forth between both championship games was definitely a prideful day for Ben Franklin High School. Our track team also had several individual regional champions and overall performed very well at the city, regional and state meets.

CSZ:What do you enjoy most about your job?

RJ:I enjoy building relationships with the student-athletes the most because they are remarkable, resilient, motivated and talented. I get to see the growth over four years and be there to coach, mentor and counsel to young people who are trying to figure out the world day by day. Also, I get to work with some phenomenal coaches that I feed off of for their different views and approaches to athletics each day.

CSZ:In addition to being athletic director, you also coach volleyball.
Do you enjoy still being a coach?

RJ:I love being a coach for volleyball! It's really a challenge with managing athletic director duties in the fall season but I managed to do pretty well during my first full year as both. Coaching has been my passion since I was freshman in college and had the opportunity to coach at a summer basketball camp. I love being able to pour into one specific group all the lessons and motivational things that my coaches taught me while growing up. Volleyball at my school has really blossomed starting with our previous coach Colin Murfree and I've just been blessed with some extraordinary young ladies that love to compete despite only being introduced to the sport in high school.

CSZ:How do you view the athletic director's role within the community of a high school?

RJ:I view the athletic director as someone who can communicate with many different groups of people about unity, teamwork, and family and know that the foundation is athletics. We can impact our community by encouraging coaches and student-athletes to serve and be role models within our community on a daily basis. I think athletic directors play one of the biggest roles within the school community because sports are one of the best ways to teach young teenagers life lessons through experiencing them and learn not only about themselves, but others along the way.

CSZ:Is there anything exciting or new we should be on the look out for from Ben Franklin's athletic department?

RJ:We are moving in the right direction as a sports program in the Baltimore City league with our baseball team winning the Division 2 city championships and now being moved up into Division 1 with all of the Baltimore City powerhouses next year. Our volleyball and basketball programs made the transition this year to the upper division and did a great job of competing with the larger schools so we look to keep up the momentum and continue to build a strong athletic program for our community. We are now six years old as a high school and despite being one of the smaller schools in the city, we continue to build our tradition and be a model community high school in Baltimore City.

CSZ:If there's anything else happening with Ben Franklin Athletics that you'd like to share, don't hesitate to let us know!

RJ:We will have two new coaches in the fall, Bernard Morgan for football and Alan Febres for soccer, who will look to raise the level of their respective programs.
June 14th, 2017By: Wick Eisenberg

County Sports Zone provides the schedules, scores and standings for 208 public high schools across Maryland, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
We post the score of every game - varsity, junior varsity, freshman - by 11 o’clock every night.