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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sometimes They Do Stay Put

There is a another pretty good basketball coach on the west coast that is named Jackson and he is not retiring.

While Phil will forever get the accolades, Western Washington head coach Brad Jackson, like Phil, just keeps winning.

Brad Jackson has been the head basketball coach at Western Washington University, in Bellingham, Washington for 27 years.

Bellingham is a quaint little town, just south of the Canadian border along Interstate-5. Windy in the winter, gorgeous in the summer. Western Washington is a member of the GNAC conference, an outstanding D-2 basketball league which has teams located in five states and the province of British Columbia. If you play and coach in the GNAC, get used to traveling and I don't mean the traveling that referees call. Going to Alaska and Montana in the winter, as teams do in the GNAC,  is not my idea of fun.

Coaches who stay at one school for over 20 years and also win,  intrigue me greatly, there is almost something mystical about it.

In his 27 years at Western, Jackson has won over 64 percent of his games, has 11, 20 win seasons, is coming up on 500 wins (most coaches would love to get 200 at one school) and is the longest tenured coach in any sport in the history of the school. (In NAIA and D-2 basketball, 20 wins is much harder to get than D-1, cause the teams play less games on their schedule.)

But with that great record, I think there is something much more important about Brad Jackson. He has had a chance to move on and coach at many schools,  on a much higher level and obviously make a great deal more money, I mean lots of money in this day and age. Like Danny Miles,  the great head coach of Oregon Institute of Technology, Jackson has chosen to stay at Western Washington and make an impact on not only the lives of the close to 400 athletes he has coached, but the thousands of students he comes in contact with on the campus of Western Washington.

I first saw Brad Jackson play when he was a guard  for Washington State in the 70s. He was a good enough player then that in his senior he lead the then Pac-8 (yes it was then the Pac-8) in assist average. You could kind of tell when you watched him play and the way he played,  that he had the makings of becoming an outstanding coach as he is. I am also sure it didn't hurt that while at Washington State he had the pleasure of playing for two of the greatest college coaches of all time, Marv Harshman and George Raveling.

Brad Jackson, unlike Phil, is more than likely not going to appear often on ESPN, or be featured in national magazines, but for sure he part of the great history of west coast college basketball and even more important he is doing something he loves and doing it at a place he loves and above all, making a difference.

We need a lot more Brad Jacksons, not only in the coaching world, but in the world of helping and shaping the lives of young men and women. Thanks coach Jackson for staying put, a lot of people are better off for it. Your a credit to your profession and credit to the human spirit of giving back.


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