AUSTIN, Texas — Tiffany Jackson, a former standout at the University of Texas who was the No. 5 pick in the WNBA draft in 2007 and played nine years in the league, has died of cancer, the school announced. She was 37.
Jackson, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, died Monday. She was hired as head coach at Wiley College in April.
Jackson was a three-time All-Big 12 selection and was voted the national freshman of the year by the U.S Basketball Writers Association in 2004. She finished her Texas career ranked in the top five in career points, rebounds and steals. She is the only Longhorns player to reach 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 150 blocks in a career.
“Tiffany had a great career and was an impact player,” former Texas coach Jody Conradt said. "She was recognized for her all-around game and the fact that she was tremendously mobile and could play multiple positions. She was beloved by teammates, and we share in the sadness of her passing.”
Jackson was drafted by the WNBA’s New York Liberty. She also played for the Tulsa Shock and the Los Angeles Sparks. Her best pro season came in 2011 with Tulsa when she averaged 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.
The Shock organization moved to DFW in the summer of 2015, officially becoming the Dallas Wings in November 2015.
After learning of Jackson's passing, the Wings shared their condolences and put out the following statement on their social media pages:
"A Texas legend. A member of our WNBA family. A mom, daughter, teammate, mentor, and friend. Your impact will be remembered forever."
Jackson's DFW roots go even further though. She attended Duncanville High School, where she was a member of the 2003 Duncanville Girls Basketball State Championship team.
“Tiffany Jackson was an amazing mother, daughter, friend, teammate and role model for so many,” said DHS head girls basketball coach LaJeanna Howard, who grew up playing basketball with Jackson in Duncanville ISD. They were teammates on the championship team.
Jackson also gave back to the Duncanville ISD community and attended playoff games and tournaments.
“She would go to schools to speak and give our young girls nuggets of wisdom that they could carry with them through a lifetime,” Howard said. “She will be dearly missed throughout the community."
After her cancer diagnosis, Jackson managed to return to the court to play a final season with Los Angeles in 2017 before retiring at age 32. She was an assistant coach at Texas for two seasons.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of Tiffany Jackson, one of the greatest players in the history of Texas women's basketball,” Texas coach Vic 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.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson ran into the former Longhorn at OU-Texas weekend last year and was hoping to see Jackson again this upcoming weekend.
"She lit up a room," Johnson said.