The Cardinal Ritter College Prep’s athletic programs are omni present : in recognition and success. As its reigning state-championship football team was concluding another undefeated regular season, the head coach of the defending state championship girls track and field team formally received her Coach of the Year plaque at halftime homecoming ceremonies of the football game.
Tiffany Jackson-Spain, who guided the Lady Lions to a third straight Missouri Class 5 girls track and field championships last spring, formally received her plague at Ritter’s football game against St. Francis Borgia from the Missouri State Activities Association, with St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and Ritter’s school president Tamiko Armstead on hand to recognize the honor.
In citing her accomplishments, to the stadium crowd, of Ritter fans, Eric Cooper, the school’s director of enrollment and marketing acknowledged the consistency of his coach’s excellence.
“Coach Spain has been Class 5 Coach of the Year not once, not twice but three times in a row,” Cooper proclaimed. “I just want to say that I greatly, greatly appreciate them for their support.” With that, Cooper turned it over to Armstead, who would subsequently introduce the mayor.
To that end, Mayor Jones echoed those sentiments.
“I love Cardinal Ritter so much that I send my son (Aden) here,” the mayor said. “I’ve been here three times and all three times (to honor the school) after championship teams.”
Indeed, the medal case stays fresh and full at Ritter. The football team, which is coached by Tiffany’s husband, Brennan Spain the reigning Class 3 state champions. The boys basketball team, coached by Ryan Johnson, is also the reigning state champions. In capturing a state title three years in a row, Tiffany Jackson-Spain has achieved something not duplicated by any sport in Ritter’s history. Small wonder she has drawn rave reviews from staff members and former mentors alike.
“Tiffany Spain’s success has come from her commitment to her craft, her dedication to all the young student athletes,” commented assistant coach Charles “Chico” Jones “(It’s) her desire to make the Ritter way a better way and putting together a staff that’s on the same page with her! No pain. No podium! Lion Pride for life.”
Tiffany’s former high school coach at Gateway Tech, where she was a state champion hurdler, said she has the necessary intangibles to be a great teacher.
“Tiffany has always had the never quit attitude and the beautiful temperament to be the shining star,” said Downing, an assistant principal now at McCluer High. “She knows that I watch her every move as she coaches and leads these young ladies to become star themselves.”