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Coach Ram to the rescue: Ribault High School hires Aaron Pinckney as head football coach

The Florida Times-Union logo The Florida Times-Union 1/26/2022 Clayton Freeman, Florida Times-Union
A Ribault High School football helmet is displayed during a press conference for the Bold City Showcase on July 22, 2021. [Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union] © Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union A Ribault High School football helmet is displayed during a press conference for the Bold City Showcase on July 22, 2021. [Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union]

To turn around a storied athletic program, Ribault is relying on Coach Ram to ride to the rescue.

Ribault announced Aaron Pinckney on Wednesday as the school's next head coach for high school football, with eyes on returning the Northwest Jacksonville school to prominence on the gridiron.

Pinckney takes the place of Marlon White, who stepped down following the 2021 season. White, who arrived in January 2020 from North Carolina, compiled a 4-16 record in two seasons in Northwest Jacksonville but did lead the team into the Class 5A regional semifinals in 2020 with upsets of Choctawhatchee and Tallahassee Godby.

Long known as Coach Ram in the Jacksonville sports world, Pinckney moves to the high school from Ribault Middle School, where he's coming off back-to-back Duval County championships.

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He becomes the most recent coach from the middle school ranks to take on a first-time high school head coaching role, and Ribault doesn't have to look far to find a success story from a similar career path. Christopher Foy, recognized by the Jaguars as county coach of the year for 2021, led Landmark Middle School's program for more than a decade prior to his current tenure at Jackson.

Pinckney becomes the Trojans' fourth coach in the span of fewer than four years. Former Ribault linebacker Kelvin Smith departed the program during preseason practice in 2019, Lin-J Shell took over as coach for the remainder of that season and White led the team in 2020 and 2021.

Ribault, which has produced NFL players including Kelvin Martin, Laveranues Coles, Travis Taylor and current New England Patriots fullback Jakob Johnson, is seeking its first winning season since 2017. The Trojans' most pressing problems in fall were on offense, where they scored only 98 points.

The Trojans are also working to catch up in the rivalry with Raines from the southwest side of Moncrief Road. Raines has defeated Ribault in 17 of the last 21 editions of the Northwest Classic, including the last five, beating the Trojans 30-0 on Oct. 23.

Clayton Freeman covers high school sports and more for the Florida Times-Union. Follow him on Twitter at @CFreemanJAX.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Coach Ram to the rescue: Ribault High School hires Aaron Pinckney as head football coach

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