Meet the Coach: Harold Jackson at Alma Mater
For Harold Jackson, this homecoming was well worth the wait.
Jackson, 68, a five-time All-Pro wide receiver during his 16-year playing career in the NFL, returns to his home state for his first head coaching job at his alma mater, Jackson State. Jackson, who was taken in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1968 draft and had over 10,000 receiving yards during his career, brings playing and coaching experience from both the collegiate and professional levels. JET recently had a chance to talk to Jackson about what he calls the final chapter of a long, illustrious career.
JET: Coach how does it feel to be back at your home state and to now be the head coach of your alma mater?
Harold Jackson: It’s good to come back to where everything started. This is where my first chapter started and I’m back for the last chapter of my career.
JET: What was your reaction when you got the call saying you would be Jackson State’s next head coach?
HJ: This is something that had been brewing for a long time. I’ve had many friends and supporters that have always said “You need to come back to Jackson State.”
JET: What do you remember from your days as a player at Jackson State?
HJ: I had fun when I was here. When I came here everybody wanted me to wear number 00 for “Double 0 Soul.” I remember when they would introduce both teams, they would introduce me last and when I came out the PA announcer would ask the crowd: “Are you ready for star time, showtime, my choice, your, choice Double 0 Soul?” There was just something about that number.
JET: What will the identity of the football team be under your reign?
HJ: We’re going to be a team with a lot of energy. All my coaches have a lot of energy and when we hit the field we’re going to play with that. When we hit the field we’re going to hit it right.
JET: How has the support been from your fellow Jackson State alums?
HJ: All the former players and people that knew me back when I was here they’ve preached to me for the last 15 years about coming back to Jackson State and coaching. They felt like they wanted someone with some ties to Jackson State. They wanted some history back on campus and that’s what they got.
JET: What are your expectations for the program?
HJ: I came into a great situation. What we have to do here is continue to build on what he left here and finish the job that they didn’t finish. Like I told the guys we want to put a ring on it and that what we’re going to try to do.
JET: Any chance you’ll sneak out of the locker room during halftime to check out the Sonic Boom of the South?
HJ: (laughing) We won’t have time to look at the band. I remember those sets when I was playing here, they would put on a show for you. They work just as hard as we did when I was playing. We would be out there working out at six in the morning and they would be out there working too.
Interview conducted by Creighton Hart. Follow our MVP sports contributor on Twitter via @HartInTheGame HERE.