Wednesday, 27 January 2021 20:42

Memorial honoring Rev. Ricky Jacobs unveiled at Raider Stadium

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The new memorial honoring Ricky Jacobs is located near the entrance to the field near the field house. The new memorial honoring Ricky Jacobs is located near the entrance to the field near the field house. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — The smile of one of Richmond Senior High School’s most beloved larger-than-life supporters will now forever be memorialized at Raider Stadium.


This week, a memorial was unveiled in remembrance of Ricky Jacobs, a longtime staple in the Richmond athletic community. Known affectionately as “Rev,” Jacobs spent decades on the sidelines cheering on and supporting all of Richmond’s programs.

Made of granite, the memorial rests on a pillar of chardonnay country ledgestone and was constructed near the entrance to the field by the field house.

Adorned with a picture of Jacobs smiling and wearing a Raider football hat, the memorial reads, “In appreciation of Ricky ‘The Rev’ Jacobs who constantly prayed for the Raiders and was a friend to all that met him.”

At the bottom, his infamous saying of “1, 2, 3, Jesus” is inscribed. Jacobs was a local minister for 36 years, spending 34 years as the pastor of Southside FWB in Ellerbe.

Known for attending practices and handing out water bottles, gum and towels during Raider football games, Jacobs was considered by many to be the team’s No. 1 fan. That’s why many in the community, including head football coach Bryan Till and his staff, felt the memorial was a must.

“Rev had been a staple of this program for over 20 years, and since he touched so many people during that time, there were a number of community members who wanted to try and remember him in some way,” Till explained. 

“The Mr. Raider statue gave us some precedent for finding a way to honor those who have been involved selflessly over the years like Mr. (Charles) Brownley. We want to make sure those people are remembered correctly.”

Jacobs’ memorial becomes the second monument at Raider Stadium. Brownley, who was the original “Mr. Raider” mascot from 1972 to 2000, is remembered with lifelike statue coming out of the tunnel onto the field.

Till said the numerous community members involved with carrying out the project wish to remain anonymous, and that no money from the football program was used. He added that “all of the labor and materials were either paid for through private donations or provided at no cost.”

Jacobs passed away on Oct. 3 after battling COVID-19 for several weeks, according to Facebook posts from his church. His funeral service was held at Raider Stadium, a place where he impacted the lives of so many.

With no traditional football season happening at the time because of the pandemic, that gave Till and his staff time to plan the memorial.

“We just wanted to make sure it was done prior to the season starting,” Till said. “I started having conversations with people right after Rev passed about doing something, and between myself and other coaches on staff we came up with this monument that we thought was fitting.”

The memorial was designed and paid for just prior to Christmas break.

Photo: Jacobs’ granite memorial on a pillar of chardonnay country ledgestone.

Lynn Jacobs, who was married to Rev. Jacobs for 43 years, said the shrine in her husband’s honor was a welcomed surprise.

“I do really appreciate it,” she said. “He was loved by so many. I don't even think he knew how much the Raiders loved him. But I know he really loved them.”

Jacobs’ granddaughter, Riley Jacobs, added, “we all were just amazed. It definitely surprised us, but we knew that it was very deserving. It makes us so happy to know how loved he was and that his love and memory will live on at the stadium.”

A positive light to the community’s youth, Preacher Jacobs attended other sporting events on campus and around the Sandhills region. He often sat amongst family members, prayed for and with student-athletes and coaches before and after games and his voice was louder than the rest when cheering on the Raiders.

“Rev was always positive, always involved,” Till recalled. “Kids in this community for the last 20 years have always known someone prayed for them, loved them and cared about their future because Rev was always there.  

“He constantly told them Jesus loved them and they could see how much he enjoyed life and loved people. That example stays with you.”

Now that Jacobs’ pleasant demeanor and loving spirit are memorialized in Raider Stadium history, Till said he hopes future generations will remember the Rev’s impact and choose to follow in his footsteps.

“I hope people can see that no matter what you do, it is important,” Till explained. “Rev took something as simple as helping give water on Friday night and made a huge impact on the community because of the way he did it.  

“He gave selflessly of his time, and because of this, had a lasting impact of kindness in people's lives. We can all do that if we make the decision daily. Rev honored the call of God on his life and it showed.”

Riley Jacobs said the memorial will serve as a reminder for what her grandfather stood for and believed in, which was to love everyone.

“I think the best thing about him was that he was always there with a smile, a pack of gum and ‘Jesus Saves’ somewhere on his shirt,” Riley Jacobs recalled. 

“No matter which team the Raiders were playing against, he was never an enemy. He was always a friend. I want him to be remembered for his love and the compassion he had for all people. He loved simply as Christ loved.”

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Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_