Alabama pitching coach Jason Jackson was put in a precarious position last season on May 4th, being named interim head coach on the day the Tide was set to start a series with number five Vanderbilt. When coach Brad Bohannon was let go that morning, Jackson was called to fill the head spot for the remainder of the season. Jackson made the most of the opportunity, defeating Vanderbilt two games to one in the series, and setting the Tide in position to host a NCAA Regional.
On Wednesday Jackson was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association. The award has been handed out since 1999 and Jackson is the first Tide coach to receive the award.
Under Jackson’s leadership Bama preceded to win their next three SEC series, finishing the regular season winning eight of their last 10 games, including 7-2 in conference. The Tide went 2-2 in the SEC Tournament and impressed the NCAA Committee enough to grab a hosting spot for the first time since 2006. Bama was named the 16th seed, when the likely deserved to be no lower than a 12 seed. The 16th seed lined their regional up with the number one overall seed, Wake Forest, in Super Regional play.
The Tide swept through their Regional with thrilling victories over Nicholls and Troy, and a blowout of Boston College in the Championship game. The team then had to travel to Winston Salem to tangle with Wake Forest and the Demon Deacons proved too much for the valiant Crimson squad.
Including post season play Jackson forged a 13-6 record for the Tide and put them on the map as a national player. The calm manor in which he led the veteran laden Bama squad was masterful and just what they needed at the time. The players rallied around Jackson and each other to give the team their best finish in many years at 43-21.
Athletic Director Greg Byrne named Maryland’s Rob Vaughn head coach shortly after the season ended, and Vaughn has said on multiple occasions that the only way he would have taken the job was if Jackson was retained. Jackson was rewarded with a raise, a two-year contract, unusual for an assistant, and a new title of Associate Head Coach to go along with his duties as pitching coach. Keeping Jackson on was a huge reason the Tide kept as many players on board both from the current squad and the incoming signing class.
You can’t say enough good things about Jason Jackson as a coach or a man and the Tide is fortunate to have held on the the highly sought after coach. Well done JJ, well done.