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Coach J

Steve Jacobson, a teacher and coach at Watertown High School for 18 years, worked his final day for the district on March 20, 2008 due to a resurgence of cancer in his liver which was terminal. Coach J made teaching and coaching his third career. Prior to coming to Watertown, he used his business degree from UW - Eau Claire to go into real estate. Later, he co-owned and operated the Northwest Title and Abstracting company in Minneapolis, MN. After 10 years in business, he decided to try education, got his teaching degree, and came to Watertown.

While at Watertown, Coach J made one of his marks coaching athletics. He spent 10 years as the freshman coach under Patty Jansen, first with the volleyball program and later with the softball program. He was also a varsity boys basketball assistant under Bill Lechner. Coach J served as the varsity girls basketball coach for four seasons from 1998 - 2002, then moved over to coach the varsity boys for three seasons from 2003 - 05. He took the girls to state in 1999. He won one conference title with the girls program and two with the boys program.

Coach J was notoriously fiery, and certainly didn't shy away from barking at his players. His rabid demeanor during basketball games was used as inspiration and energy to his players. He was known for his intensity and passion for life, and did not take his time between the lines for granted.

At 53, Coach J was at peace with his illness, mostly because he lived life exactly the way he wanted to. "Do what you can - when you feel good, do what you can. I got chances to coach at all different levels. I took kids on trips. I started new classes I wanted to try. It was about living life to the fullest, and on my terms. That was really important."

Said close friend and peer Carla Mullen: "I think he affected everybody, not only the kids but the people around him because he has such a passion for what he did. He lived it. He believed in it. He expressed it honestly. He wasn't a demagogue. I think he knows his life meant something."