JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – The Ribault (Florida) football program filled its vacant head coach position this winter with the hiring of Aaron Pinckney, who elevates to the high school level from Ribault’s middle school program.
Pinckney, affectionately known as Coach Ram in the Jacksonville area, led the Ribault Middle School football team for the last four seasons. His tenure there included back-to-back Duval County championships.
“It was just like a perfect fit right about now. A lot of the kids I had coached already are there,” Pinckney told news4jax.com following his hiring. “It’s going to be exciting.”
Pinckney worked his way to Ribault through the youth football ranks, including that impressive run with the Colts middle school program.
“The enthusiasm is high. Everyone is ready to work hard and I’m excited about the culture change here at Ribault,” Pinckney said in a recent interview with DuvalSports.com. He calls discipline one of the main pillars of his success, something that will be key for a young Trojans team this season.
The Ribault football vacancy opened following the resignation of former head coach Marlon White, who stepped down following the 2021 season. In two seasons, White managed just a 4-16 record, but led Ribault to a surprise run to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 5A regional semifinals in 2020.
In leaving the program, White said: “In the past year, we made it to the third [round] of the state playoffs, raised the team GPA from 2.21 to 2.86. We averaged 30 plus kids in our last two freshman classes and had 35 juniors returning. The future is bright, and I wish them much success.”
Pinckney takes over a struggling Ribault program that finished last season just 1-9. The team managed seven points or fewer in six of their 10 games, including suffering three shutouts. The Trojans scored 98 points total last season, averaging 9.8 points per game and scoring in double figures just three times.
Ribault remains one of the most successful programs in Northeast Florida, though the school has yet to win a state championship. The Trojans sport 13 alumni who went on to play in the National Football League, including Laveranues Coles, Kelvin Martin, Travis Taylor, and current New England Patriot Jakob Johnson.
Pinckney looks to lead Ribault to its first winning season since 2017, and hopes to turn the tide in the school’s fiercest rivalry, that with nearby Raines High School. Both schools find themselves in the FHSAA’s District 1-2M (Metro), with Andrew Jackson High as well.
Raines leads the all-time series with Ribault 37-14 and sports a 2-0 lead in state titles, having won in 2017 and 2018. Ribault last defeated Raines in 2016.
Pinckney becomes the fourth different head coach for Ribault in recent years. Prior to White’s two-year run leading the program, Lin Shell spent one season as interim head coach following the three-year tenure of Kelvin Smith.