(WICHITA, Kan.) — A good coach, a great athlete but friends of Randy Jackson say those traits were second compared to the qualities he possessed personally.
"Randy Jackson's goodness had a long reach, he lived like we should all live," says Jim Rhatigan.
Rhatigan knew Jackson over forty years until recently when Jackson lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. "I think he can be described as ferocious on the football field but he was gentle everywhere else."
Rhatigian first met Jackson at Wichita State University, where he played college football. Jackson was one of nine people who survived the WSU plane crash in 1970 on the way to one of their football games.
"I think the players have all been close, this is a very unusual bond but it was a deep bond," says Rhatigan.
One of those players and survivors is Rick Stevens. "In the forty years since the accident when one would not have had the time that he and the rest of the survivors would have that he conducted himself in an admirable way."
After playing in the NFL Stevens says it was Jackson's profession as a coach at Robinson Middle School where he impacted the most lives.
Stevens says Jackson developed his players character as much as their abilities. "As a result I think many have gone on to realize successes that they would not have otherwise."
Last year, after he retired, jackson appeared in a documentary, Black and Gold, Remembering the WSU Plane Crash.
Stevens says he will remember his friend. "Just a big smile on his face and happy to be a part of a lasting video memory."
His memory is what friends like Rahtigan will hold onto.