Jaja Nebo Receives TSSAA Distinguished Service Award

Jaja Nebo is honored for his significant contributions in coaching and mentoring.

Jaja Nebo, a track and field coach with a rich background and a passion for mentoring youth, has been recognized with the TSSAA Distinguished Service Award for the 2023-24 academic year. As a son of West African immigrants, Nebo’s journey from the experiences of his family to his significant impact on Memphis-area youth is a testament to his dedication and hard work.

Having arrived in the United States in the 1980s, Nebo’s parents fled civil unrest in Monrovia, setting the stage for their son’s future achievements. Nebo, a national champion football player with all-conference honors at Delta State, has translated his athletic success into a career of service. His roles have spanned being a public educator, a special education teacher, and a multi-sport coach, all aimed at impacting young lives positively.

Nebo’s coaching philosophy extends beyond the field, aiming to nurture the heart, mind, and spirit of his students. His approach has led to significant achievements, including back-to-back TSSAA State Championships in track and field and a national bronze medal at the Special Olympics in Orlando for his 2022 unified team. However, Nebo places greater value on the life-changing impact sports have on children, echoing the sentiment that a coach’s influence is far-reaching and profound.

His dedication has not gone unnoticed, drawing recognition from the Tennessee Senate with Joint Resolution 697 and now the TSSAA Distinguished Service Award. Nebo credits his success to the unwavering support of his family, particularly his wife, Marquetta, whom he describes as both a co-pilot and sometimes the lead in his life’s journey.

As Nebo continues his coaching journey, his story serves as an inspiration, showing how resilience, dedication, and a desire to make a difference can shape the lives of many. TSSAA’s acknowledgment of Nebo’s contributions underscores the significant impact that coaches like him have on student-athletes across Tennessee.

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