HUDSON — Dicel Jefferson, who played football at Hudson High in the early 90s and later was a part of the Bluehawks’ football and basketball coaching staffs, died on Thursday at the age of 46.
“What a sad day for the Hudson Basketball program and Hudson community to hear of the passing of Coach Dicel Jefferson,” Hudson varsity basketball coach Shawn Briscoe said. “When I took over this program I preached about family and that is how I think about Dicel; as a member of my family and a family member of the program. He was there every step of the way as we built a program that gained the respect of everyone in the Capital Region.
“He was dedicated to the program and was always there no matter what we needed. He had a great relationship with his players and was always able to get the best out of them. I can still hear him yelling, “baseline,” at his team when they were not performing up to par. They knew it would be time to run until they got it right.”
One of Jefferson’s greatest strengths as a coach was his ability to relate to his players.
“He always had that infectious smile no matter the situation and could always find a way to make everyone laugh,” Briscoe said. “He had a tremendous record as our JV coach, too many wins to even count, but I always was most proud of the lasting relationships he created and built with his players. We had a great run together and I am forever grateful to him for the time and effort he put into the program to help us reach the heights that we did.
“I have countless wonderful memories with Coach that I will cherish forever and when we meet again will love to reminisce about. He left an impact on this program and will forever be a part of the Bluehawk family. I want to send out my heartfelt condolences to his family and let them know we are here for you in your time of need. Until we meet again dear friend I know you will be shining down bright on our program and making sure we continue to have great success.”
Current Hudson football coach John Davi enjoyed the time he spent working with Jefferson.
“Coach Jefferson and I started coaching together several years ago with Columbia County Pop Warner,” Davi said. “We continued together at Hudson High under Coach Bob Lacasse and he stayed on when I became the Head Coach. Dicel was always the players’ favorite. He had a huge impact on our kids lives, always there when anyone needed him! I will definitely miss him standing behind me “making suggestions” on Friday nights.”
Hudson High School Principal and former varsity football coach Bob LaCasse grew up with Jefferson and the two remained friends through the years. They were teamates at Hudson High and when LaCasse became the head coach of the Bluehawks’ varsity team, he added Jefferson to his staff.
“Everybody that knew Dicel Jefferson liked him immediately,” LaCasse said. “Great smile, great personality, you heard him before you saw him. Always laughing at somebody’s joke or making a joke at someone’s expense. We’ve known each other since we were kids. We played football together, baseball together, basketball together. I brought him on my staff when I became the varsity coach, we coached together with Woody (Gerry Wood) on the JV staff.
“Just an all-around great guy. The kids loved him and loved playing for him. We’re all shocked, especially when it’s somebody our age that we went to school with. He’s someone we all remember fondly. He’s a part of Hudson, he’s a part of the fabric that makes this community what it is. people that invest in our kids and are here to leave the place better than when we left it.”
Jefferson’s easy-going demeanor was a perfect complement to the fiery LaCasse.
“Dicel got along great with the kids. You always look to have people on your coaching staff to kind of balance you out a little bit. He’s the guy that definitely balanced me out. I can get pretty fired up and pretty intense most times and Dicel is over there busting people’s chops, getting the kids going, maybe pulling them aside after I chewed them out, those kinds of things. He always brought a nice balance to the staff, that’s for sure.
“This is one of my guys, this is one of the guys I grew up with as a kid, playing football in the street, playing little league baseball, JV football all the way to varsity football and then coaching our kids here in Hudson. He’s in my friend group. This is a guy I hung out with a lot and spent a lot of time with as a kid and as an adult. It definitely hits different when it’s somebody so close and somebody that you’ve known for most of your life. Nobody’s got a bad thing to say about him.”
Former Hudson High student-athlete Mike Alert, the Patroon Conference boys basketball Most Valuable Player for the 2016-17 season, who is now a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, will never forget the impact Coach Jefferson had on his life.
"Coach Jefferson was more than just a coach he was someone who watched me grow up," Alert said. "He watched me grow into the athlete I am today and he helped me always smile or laugh through the uncomfortable times.
"It’s hard to really speak upon this because it’s like you lose a lot of thoughts and words, but what I will say is Coach Jefferson is a legend and he will never be forgotten."