On the eve of the season opener against Appalachian State, Countdown to Kickoff visits with running backs coach Fred Jackson, who is in his 23rd season as an assistant with the Wolverines.
'Amaizing' Sounds - Fred Jackson
Fred Jackson is in his 23rd season as an assistant coach with the Wolverines. He is the team's running backs mentor and works with the kickoff returners. Jackson was associate head coach from 2003-07 after serving six seasons as assistant head coach.
Jackson was recognized for his coaching skills in 2001 with his selection as the American Football Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year for Division I-A. In addition, Jackson was a finalist for the 2000 Broyles Award given to the nation's outstanding assistant coach.
He has coached five All-Big Ten running backs at Michigan, led by three-time all-conference first team honoree Tyrone Wheatley (1992-94) and two-time performer Mike Hart (2004, 2006). Anthony Thomas (2000) and Chris Perry (2003) were All-Big Ten first team selections and Tshimanga Biakabutuka earned second-team honors in 1995. Thomas and Hart received distinction as Big Ten Freshman of the Year award winners.
Jackson's running backs have led the league in rushing four times during his tenure and surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier 12 times, including Fitzgerald Toussaint in 2011. Perry (2003) and Hart (2004) became the first teammates to lead the league in rushing in back-to-back seasons since 1982-83, pacing the Big Ten in both overall and conference play.
Eight of Jackson's running backs have been selected in the NFL Draft, including three first-round draft choices: Wheatley (17th in 1995), Biakabutuka (eighth in 1996) and Perry (26th in 2004). Thomas was an early second-round pick of the Bears in 2001 and went on to become the 2001 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as selected by the Associated Press. Jackson's 1997 national championship starting backfield of Chris Howard and Chris Floyd were both drafted, with Clarence Williams making the Arizona Cardinals roster as a free agent. B.J. Askew was a third-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2003.
Three of Jackson's tailbacks have been finalists for the Doak Walker Award, presented to the nation's outstanding running back. Chris Perry won the award in 2003 and both Anthony Thomas (2000) and Mike Hart (2006-07) were one of three finalists for the award.
Jackson served two seasons as the offensive coordinator (1995-96). He has been the team's running backs coach since joining the staff.
Before joining the Michigan staff in 1992 under Gary Moeller, Jackson had coaching stints at Vanderbilt (1991), Purdue (1989-90), South Carolina (1988), the U.S. Naval Academy (1987), Wisconsin (1982-86) and Toledo (1979-81).
Jackson made his first appearance in the Big Ten, coaching five seasons under Dave McClain at Wisconsin (1982-86). He served as the Badgers' offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach during his tenure. While at Wisconsin, Jackson coached NFL All-Pro Al Toon of the New York Jets. He began his collegiate coaching career in the Mid-American Conference, serving three years as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach under Chuck Stobart at Toledo (1979-81).
A native of Baton Rouge, La., Jackson was an all-conference quarterback at Jackson State (Miss.) after leading the conference in passing during his senior season. He earned his bachelor of science degree from Jackson State in 1972 and added his master of arts degree from Michigan in 1975.
Jackson started his coaching career at Flint Southwestern High School (Mich.), where he coached future Wolverine four-year starting quarterback Rick Leach. Jackson was also the head track coach and an assistant football coach at the start of his high school coaching career. He coached a pair of state championship track teams (1975 and 1977) and was the coach of the year in 1977. Jackson was inducted into the Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame in February 2010.
Jackson and his wife, Teresa, reside in Ann Arbor. They have two sons, Jeremy and Joshua. Jeremy was a wide receiver at Michigan from 2010-13.
THE JACKSON FILE
High School: Scotlandville, La.
College: Jackson State (1972)
Graduate School: Michigan (1975)
|2003-07||Michigan||Associate Head Coach|
|1997-2002||Michigan||Assistant Head Coach|
|1989-90||Purdue||Offensive Coordinator, QBs, WRs|
|1988||South Carolina||Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers|
|1987||U.S. Naval Academy||Wide Receivers|
|1982-86||Wisconsin||Offensive Coordinator, QBs, WRs|
|1979-81||Toledo||Offensive Coordinator, QBs, WRs|
COLLEGE BOWL EXPERIENCE (21)
Wisconsin: Hall of Fame (1984), Independence (1982); South Carolina: Liberty (1988); Michigan: Alamo (1995, 2005), Citrus/Capital One (1998, 2000, 2001, 2007), Hall of Fame (1993), Holiday (1994), Orange (1999), Outback (1996, 2002), Rose (1992, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2006), Gator (2011), Sugar (2012), Outback (2013), Buffalo Wild Wings (2013)
ALL-BIG TEN PLAYERS
1992: Tyrone Wheatley (1st, All-Big Ten) ... 1993: Tyrone Wheatley (1st, All-Big Ten) ... 1994: Tyrone Wheatley (1st, All-Big Ten) ... 1995: Tshimanga Biakabutuka (2nd, All-Big Ten) ... 1999: Anthony Thomas (2nd, All-Big Ten) ... 2000: Anthony Thomas (1st, All-Big Ten) ... 2003: Chris Perry (1st, All-Big Ten) ... 2004: Mike Hart (1st, All-Big Ten/Freshman of the Year) ... 2006: Mike Hart (1st, All-Big Ten) ... 2007: Mike Hart (2nd, All-Big Ten)
2003: Chris Perry, RB (1st) ... 2006: Mike Hart, RB (2nd) ... 2007: Mike Hart, RB (2nd)
Learn about 2015 Michigan Football season tickets.