Winning a state championship, Jackson accomplished something Richard never did at Ringling, and he became a star around the small town west of Ardmore with a little more than 1,000 people.
Elementary school girls cried when Jackson cut off his shoulder-length hair after the state championship game.
He can't stop at convenience stores before school anymore, because there's sure to be someone inside who wants to talk football. “I've been late to school because of that,” he said.
But he wouldn't change any of it, and neither would Richard, who works in the oil business and helps Ringling coach Tracy Gandy as an assistant.
“I'm so happy to see the success he's had, to where nobody talks to him about being Richard Dillon's son anymore; they ask him about him and his career, and what's going on with him,” Richard said.
The Dillon-Gandy connection is a unique one. Jackson Dillon played his entire high school career for Tracy Gandy, whose father, Rick, was Richard Dillon's coach.
Tracy says that benefited him in handling Jackson's career, because he knew what it was like to follow a legendary father — Ringling plays its home games on Rick Gandy Field.
Tracy Gandy is younger than Richard Dillon, but he watched him play in high school and college. On Wednesday, he'll sit next to Jackson Dillon as he officially becomes the second Ringling Blue Devil to sign with a Division I football program.
“What are the odds, out of so many football players here, that you'd have two D-I players, and it's a father and son?” Gandy said. “That's quite an accomplishment, and everybody around here is happy for them. It's a great story for Ringling, and for the Dillon family.”
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