On Monday, the Texas Longhorns announced the hire of former Austin LBJ head coach Jahmal Fenner as the Director of High School Relations and the replacement for Chris Gilbert, who was hired last month as the assistant head coach/tight ends coach for the North Texas Mean Green.
“We’re really excited that Jahmal is joining our staff,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He’s a guy who brings a lot to the table, is well known and respected throughout the Texas High School Coaches Association, has deep roots in Austin, and is so well connected in our community, as well as across the state. What he did in taking LBJ Football to historic heights through the most challenging of times was impressive, but seeing and hearing about the impact he had on his players and how he did it as a mentor, teacher and coach was something that really stood out. He’s a relationship guy, which is really important to us. And he’s done great things as a player, himself, and has taken that passion to coaching. I know he’ll be a great asset for us, everyone in the THSCA, and high schools everywhere as our Director of High School Relations. Jahmal’s definitely a guy we wanted to get on board, and he’s going to be such an awesome addition to our staff. We’re extremely grateful to have him with us.”
An Austin native, Fenner has 14 years of coaching experience, including five years as the athletic coordinator and head coach at Austin LBJ. With the Jaguars, Fenner posted a 49-13 record while winning three straight district titles and at least eight wins each season. In 2021, LBJ made a run the class 4A Division II state championship after making the semifinals the year before.
“Growing up here, always seeing the Longhorns, and understanding how prestigious of a university and football program Texas is, it was truly a special honor and privilege when Coach Sarkisian offered me this opportunity. It was something I just couldn’t pass up,” Fenner said. “I’ve been on the high school side for a while where I was able to encourage, facilitate and help a lot of kids reach their goals and dreams of getting to the collegiate level. I’m so grateful for that time and all I was able to do in leading a high school program. That prepared me for a position like this. Now, I’m looking forward to having the chance to do it from the other side, learning and helping with the process on the next level. And I get to do it with a great staff of coaches, while working with all the outstanding high school coaches in Texas and across the country as a resource in helping them and their kids.”
Fenner took over as the interim head coach in 2017 after serving as the team’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator from 2015-17. Previously, Fenner was the defensive backs, quarterbacks and strength and conditioning coach from 2013-17.
“I’ve worked hard to gain the respect of the coaches across our great state,” Fenner added. “I really value all the relationships I have with them and everyone in the Texas High School Coaches Association. I take a lot of pride in this position and look forward to building on those relationships, reaching out to coaches in my new role, and making sure Texas is putting its best foot forward with all the high school coaches. I’m so excited to get started.”
A graduate of Austin Reagan, Fenner played cornerback at UTEP and was a special teams standout under current Texas assistant Jeff Banks from 2001-04 before playing in the Arena Football league and coaching in the Indoor Football League and the Arena Football League 2.