Over the course of a 13-year NFL career that included Super Bowl titles and Pro Bowl appearances, Joe Jacoby accomplished pretty much everything he set his mind to. If there was anything missing from the former Redskin's impressive football resume, it was coaching... but after years of running a successful car dealership in the Northern Virginia suburbs, Jacoby's football days seemed to be well behind him.
Then, in 2007, the man they called 'Jake' found himself at a crossroads.
"Life made a turn there for us, when my wife went through some health issues with cancer," Jacoby explains when asked why he returned to the gridiron, "I was encouraged by my girls to get back into coaching and help out with the young men and get back in the game I love... with their persuasion and encouragement, I moved on to doing that, I sold the business and this is where I'm at."
The 'this' Jacoby refers to is Shenandoah University, a Division III school in Winchester, Virginia. The Hornet football program is barely a decade old, and despite its beautiful artificial-turf facility, lacks much of the glamour of Jacoby's former employer. Nevertheless, Shenandoah turned out to be a perfect fit for the one-time 'Hog', and for reasons that had very little to do with football.
"In our interview we didn't talk X's and O's," Shenandoah Head Coach Paul Barnes admitted. "We talked about life and how we were going to be molders of men and help these young men become better people in society... I knew right away this was a man I wanted to hire."