Texas Longhorns Basketball Legend Tiffany Jackson Dead at 37 from Breast Cancer: 'She Was Beloved'
Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Tiffany Jackson
Tiffany Jackson, a women's college basketball legend at the University of Texas who later worked as an assistant coach for the team, has died from breast cancer. She was 37.
The University of Texas Longhorns athletics program announced Jackson's death in a statement on Monday, honoring her decorated career at the school from 2003 to 2007, during which she played 123 games.
"Tiffany had a great career and was an impact player," Jody Conradt, former Longhorns women's basketball coach, said in a statement.
"She was recognized for her all-around game and the fact that she was tremendously mobile and could play multiple positions," Conradt added. "She was beloved by teammates, and we share in the sadness of her passing."
Jackson attended high school at Duncansville High School in Duncansville, Texas, where she won a state championship in 2003, was named Texas' Gatorade Player of the Year and left college as "the consensus No. 2 national prospect," according to the university's statement Monday.
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Harry Cabluck/AP/Shutterstock Tiffany Jackson
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Jackson was named the National Freshman of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and ESPN.com for her performance in her first season with the Longhorns, during which the team made it to the Sweet 16 in the March Madness after a 30-5 regular season, the university said in a statement.
She ranks fifth all-time in the school's women's basketball program in career points (1,917), fourth in rebounds (1,039), third in steals (313) and seventh in blocked shots (181).
Jackson stood as the only player in the program's history to record a combined 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 150 blocks during her playing career, according to the Longhorns. She is one of five players in Longhorns women's basketball history to record more than 1,000 points and more than 1,000 rebounds in her career.
A 6-3 forward, Jackson turned pro after the 2007 NCAA season and was drafted fifth overall in the 2007 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty. She played nine seasons and 225 total career games in the WNBA for the Liberty, the Tulsa Shock and the Los Angeles Sparks, according to Basketball Reference.
"We lost a member of our Sparks family today," the team wrote on Twitter early Tuesday in an acknowledgement of Jackson's death. "Our hearts go out to the Jackson family at this time."
Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Tiffany Jackson
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Jackson was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in September 2015, according to the Longhorns. Treatment proved successful and the cancer was deemed in remission by May 2016, and Jackson returned to the court after missing the 2016 WNBA season.
The 2017 season was Jackson's last in the WNBA, and she re-joined the Longhorns as an assistant coach in 2018 before moving on to take a head coaching position at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, according to ESPN.
Texas Head Coach Vic Schaefer called Jackson "one of the greatest players in the history of Texas Women's Basketball" in a statement Monday.
"From her days as a player for DFW Elite to her days as a player at The University of Texas, Tiffany has meant so much to so many people in this great state of Texas," Schaefer said. "I know she was so excited to be the head coach at Wiley College for the upcoming season. She will be sorely missed by so many. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family."
Memorial services for Jackson are pending, the university said.