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vailpass
06-21-2005, 11:46 AM
June 13, 2005
Carl Jackson still loves coaching
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Tom Kakert
Publisher

Since 1963, Carl Jackson has been roaming the sidelines in Texas, Iowa, and California coaching football at just about every level imaginable. It is a career that has included Big Ten Titles, Super Bowl victories, and many great memories. In Part One of our interview with Coach Jackson, he talks about his coaching career, working for Hayden Fry, and meeting a young coach named Kirk Ferentz for the first time.


Univeristy of Iowa

Carl Jackson has made an impact on the lives of many young men over the years.
Q: Talk about getting your start in coaching and how that came about.

JACKSON: Actually, I played college football and I kind of felt that my background was such that I could coach football. My high school coach had some influence on me in that respect. When I got out of college, my head coach's son was a high school administrator in Houston and he came up during the season and said they were opening up a new junior high school and they needed a head football coach. That was really the first time I started thinking along those lines.

I graduated that May and took a job as the head coach at that junior high and that is how I got started. I worked there for four years and did a pretty good job. Then my high school coach moved from Bay City, my home town and took a job in Port Arthur. He had been trying to get me to come there for a few years, so we ended up moving there and I coached there with him and also coached track for eight years.

We had some success there and several of our players ended up going to North Texas State, when Coach Fry was there. Through that relationship, he called me and asked me to come up for an interview. I went there and he offered me a job and I took it. I was pretty content coaching high school and enjoyed it, but I took the job and was there for three years.

Then Coach Fry left and took the job here at Iowa and our whole staff went with him. That is how I got to Iowa.

Q: Listening to you talk about your career, it seems like you would be happy coaching football just about anywhere.

JACKSON: I probably had as much fun coaching junior high than anywhere I have been. I could take players to games and we would go to high school games together and then when we moved I had fun at high school too. I really enjoyed working with young people and I think you can really have an impact on their lives, especially at that level.

Q: You talk about influencing kids lives. Being an African American, is that important to you in molding those young men you coach? Is that one of the most gratifying things in coach for you?

JACKSON: Obviously, I think that is important to me personally. I was talking with someone last night and we were talking about Richard Bass. He was a young man that came here from Omaha Central. He was not heavily recruited and we were actually recruiting his teammate Sean Ridley, who was an All American. We started watching tape and his coach recommended him to us. But, Richard was not a very good student and he did not do well on tests. He probably would not get into Iowa today based on the NCAA regulations.

Richard came here and really worked hard on football and his academics. He had a speech impediment and took some classes. He was just a young man that took advantage of his opportunities. It was just so gratifying to see a young man like that make it because he could have very easily been back in Omaha working at a factory or something. Today he is an administrator in St. Louis at an inner city elementary school and doing a great job.

The thing that I remember about him is how hard he worked and how he never missed a tutoring session or a class. He took advantage of all the help that was there for him. He got through school and got his degree, while his teammate that came with him did not take school seriously and did not stay around. I remember when he graduated and how proud he was.

He called me two or three years after graduating and he was coaching at a school and he said, "Coach this is Richard." I said, "Hey Richard, how are you doing?" He said, "Guess what, this summer I am getting my masters degree." I told him that was great and I went home and told my wife and we talked about Richard and how far he had come. Then three or four years after that he called me again and said, "Coach guess what? I am going to get my PhD this summer." That really blew my mind because of where he started from, but that goes to show you that hard work can get you where you want to go. I use him as an example all the time in talking to my players because you don't have to be the smartest guy on the team, but if you work hard there are rewards out there for you.

Coach Ferentz brought him back as an honorary captain and he talked to the team. Our players had heard me talk about Richard and they finally got to meet him. To me that was as true of a success story as I have ever been apart of since I have been coaching.

Q: What is the biggest change in college football since you started at North Texas?

JACKSON: There have been a lot of NCAA changes and limits on scholarships. They have increased test scores and an emphasis on academics and I think those things were good. I think people tend to rise to those expectations. When those rules were instituted people thought you would see the elimination of a lot of black athletes and I don't think that has been the case at all.

When I came to Iowa, that was one of the things that impressed me about the Big Ten, that African American athletes were getting degrees. Having been in Texas, I saw guys being used. They would go for four years, be kept eligible, and after that if they did not make pro football then they were out the door. To me the Big Ten was the forerunner of the new NCAA rules. Today, most of the conferences are coming to where the Big Ten already was in terms of academic requirements.

Q: What did you first think of Coach Fry when he was coming down to recruit some of your players?

JACKSON: I followed Hayden's career. Hayden gave the first scholarship to an African American player in the old Southwest Conference to a guy named Jerry Levias. When I was working in Houston, I saw Jerry play and my wife started teaching high school when he was there. They had a lot of great athletes at that high school like Bubba Smith come through there, but they had to come to the Big Ten to play Division One football.

Coach Fry gave Jerry the first scholarship, so if you were African American, lived in Texas, and were involved in athletics, you knew who Hayden Fry was and what he stood for. When I went in for the interview, I kind of knew that type of person he was and he was exactly what I expected. He offered me a job at that point. I enjoyed what I was doing, but I thought that maybe at the time I would like to give it a try and I always knew that I could go back to high school at some point.

The big decision was to leave there and come to Iowa because I did not know anything about Iowa at the time and I really did not know anyone to call and ask either. I did not want to bring my family into a bad situation because coaches coach and you spend time with your staff, but I had no idea about putting my family in the community where they had to live and how many African Americans were here. The way the rules were back then, only one team went to a bowl game in the Big Ten and everyone else went home.

He (Hayden) told me he was going to talk to Bump and then he called me back and told me what he had said and then we decided to come to Iowa. It was probably one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

Q: Coach Fry has talked about that decision to come to Iowa and how he sprung that on you guys in a meeting. Talk about how that all came about.

JACKSON: What I remember about that was that Coach Fry was kind of getting disgusted with things because we had some good teams and they promised us that we were going to get on TV and then they would back out. At that time we were winning nine or ten games every year.

Coach Fry ended up interviewing for the Miami, FL job and he came in second on that one. Then he said he had talked to the athletic director at Iowa and he asked everybody if they would go with him and I think everyone held up their hand except for me. That is when he asked me why and I told him that I did not know anything about Iowa. I think most of the guys felt that being in the Big Ten conference would help and that it could be special because Iowa had not won in a long time.

One thing I do remember about that time was that we had some recruits on campus and Hayden had called and told me he had talked to Bump and that he told me about what it was like for an African American in Iowa City. But, the word got out just like that about him accepting the job at Iowa. We had the recruits on campus and our players we already had wanted to know what was going to happen to them. Everyone came right away except for Bill Brashier, who stayed back to try and get the North Texas job because that is where he went to school. Bill told them that he wanted the job, but that if they were going to open it up then he was going to go to Iowa. They opened it up and Bill decided to join us. We brought six of our assistants with us and Don Patterson was a graduate assistant there and he came too.

Q: Do you think that keeping that staff together that had so much success was key to your early success at Iowa?

JACKSON: I think the thing that helped us as much as anything was that Coach Fry was a very charismatic person and that we threw the football. Even when you thought we were not going to throw it, we threw it. At that time the Big Ten was the old three yards and a cloud of dust with Ohio State and Michigan dominating by running the football. We threw the football and we ran trick plays and reverses. I think the fans loved it and I know our players loved it.

Back in those days you could outwork people in recruiting. You could go into a school every day, but you just could not talk to a kid. You would go by their classrooms where they could see you. We had some good coaches who were good recruiters and got some good players that way. It was a combination of things. I don't think that overall the league was as tough as when I came back this time from top to bottom. At that time there were a few good teams, but now everyone is elevating their play.

Q: One of the early editions to that staff was a guy named Kirk Ferentz. When I talked to Coach Ferentz a few weeks ago and mentioned you, he said Carl was a mentor to me when I came on staff. What were your first impressions of Kirk Ferentz?

JACKSON: The way that he got here was that we had a line coach named Clovis Hale and he was from Texas. After spring ball, Clovis left. Normally you do not do that in college football. In my mind, he must have wanted to leave pretty badly because he took a defensive line job at Rice. (laugh)

When he left we had some guys come in for interviews and Coach Fry would ask Bill Snyder or myself to sit in to talk to the guys. When Kirk came in he was obviously a young guy, but you could tell that he knew what he was doing and that he was a knowledgeable and a smart guy. Coach Fry asked our opinion and we both said that Kirk would be the best guy for the job. He came in and took those same guys that in the previous year had struggled and taught them some new techniques and he worked with them before and after practice. We ended up winning the Big Ten that year, so he had a huge impact on our team.

Q: Are you surprised now to see him where he is at as a head coach?

JACKSON: Not at all. I remember we had a staff that was staying intact for a long time. I remember Barry Alverez leaving to go to Notre Dame and then Bill Snyder going to Kansas State. After that Kirk left, so we had some good continuity with our staff. I left a couple of years after that.

I am not surprised by his success at all. Kirk has always been a sharp guy that understood what he was doing. The most important thing to me is that he is probably a better person than he is a football coach and he is one heck of a coach.


Stay tuned to HawkeyeReport.com for Part Two of our interview with Coach Carl Jackson.
From Rivals.com http://iowa.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=425132

Saulbadguy
06-21-2005, 12:14 PM
The greatest of course being the man below. Thank you, Hayden Fry.

Saulbadguy
06-21-2005, 12:16 PM
BTW, I've asked this question of many a Hawkeye and never got an answer. Did Bill Snyder help develop the new Hawkeye logo as well? Reason I ask is it looks like they changed their logo in the late 70's, about the same time Snyder joined the staff. When Snyder went to KSU, he redesigned the KSU logo to the Powercat. I think they look very similar in its minimalist, simplistic design.

:ksu:
:IA:

Skip Towne
06-21-2005, 12:19 PM
BTW, I've asked this question of many a Hawkeye and never got an answer. Did Bill Snyder help develop the new Hawkeye logo as well? Reason I ask is it looks like they changed their logo in the late 70's, about the same time Snyder joined the staff. When Snyder went to KSU, he redesigned the KSU logo to the Powercat. I think they look very similar in its minimalist, simplistic design.

:ksu:
:IA:
What the hell is a "Hawkeye"?

Saulbadguy
06-21-2005, 12:20 PM
What the hell is a "Hawkeye"?
Apparently, this guy.

http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/features/images/nicieza/hawkeye.jpg

:shrug:

jspchief
06-21-2005, 12:36 PM
BTW, I've asked this question of many a Hawkeye and never got an answer. Did Bill Snyder help develop the new Hawkeye logo as well? Reason I ask is it looks like they changed their logo in the late 70's, about the same time Snyder joined the staff. When Snyder went to KSU, he redesigned the KSU logo to the Powercat. I think they look very similar in its minimalist, simplistic design.

:ksu:
:IA:

No he didn't design the Hawkeye logo, but he did rip it off to design the Mildcat.

Saulbadguy
06-21-2005, 12:37 PM
Fair enough.

jspchief
06-21-2005, 12:38 PM
What the hell is a "Hawkeye"?We've already had this conversation. Big shock that a 70 year old stoner doesn't remember :rolleyes:

Main Entry: Hawkeye http://m-w.com/images/audio.gif (javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?hawkey01.wav=Hawkeye'))
Pronunciation: 'ho-"kI
Function: noun
: a native or resident of Iowa -- used as a nickname

vailpass
06-21-2005, 01:31 PM
BTW, I've asked this question of many a Hawkeye and never got an answer. Did Bill Snyder help develop the new Hawkeye logo as well? Reason I ask is it looks like they changed their logo in the late 70's, about the same time Snyder joined the staff. When Snyder went to KSU, he redesigned the KSU logo to the Powercat. I think they look very similar in its minimalist, simplistic design.

:ksu:
:IA:


Hayden Fry had the logo and uniform done when he first hit the ground at Iowa in order to signify a new day after many dismal years of Iowa football. Hayden selected the logo from many submissions. Since the they shared team colors with Iowa and were synonymous with winning Hayden asked the Pittsburgh Steelers if they minded if he designed the new Hawk football unifomr's after the Steelers.
As a reply the Stellers sent Hayden an entire Steeler uni from cleats to helmet and everything in between.

Saulbadguy
06-21-2005, 01:33 PM
Hayden Fry had the logo and uniform done when he first hit the ground at Iowa in order to signify a new day after many dismal years of Iowa football. Hayden selected the logo from many submissions. Since the they shared team colors with Iowa and were synonymous with winning Hayden asked the Pittsburgh Steelers if they minded if he designed the new Hawk football unifomr's after the Steelers.
As a reply the Stellers sent Hayden an entire Steeler uni from cleats to helmet and everything in between.
Sounds like a similar story then. Snyder did the same thing with KSU after many (more) years of dismal football. Thanks for the info. :)

vailpass
06-21-2005, 01:35 PM
What the hell is a "Hawkeye"?

Are you familiar with the classic novel "The Last of the Mohicans" whose main character is named Hawkeye? Early in Iowa's statehood this novel was popular. Two men seized on the name as a nickname for Iowa as it reflected the strong native amaerican tradition of the state.

Nickname: The Hawkeye State
The nickname was adopted early in the state's history. Two Iowa promoters from Burlington are believed to have popularized the name.

http://www.iowalifechanging.com/travel/iowafacts/symbols.html

ChiefsCountry
06-21-2005, 01:49 PM
Sounds like a similar story then. Snyder did the same thing with KSU after many (more) years of dismal football. Thanks for the info. :)

Didn't Snyder get his uniform idea from the Dallas Cowgirls?

ChiTown
06-21-2005, 02:04 PM
Didn't Snyder get his uniform idea from the Dallas Cowgirls?

:hmmm:

Wha?

htismaqe
06-21-2005, 03:23 PM
I've been evangelizing about Fry here for the last 5 years....

vailpass
06-21-2005, 04:43 PM
I've been evangelizing about Fry here for the last 5 years....

I can see why you would.

Remember what a breath of fresh air Hayden was after all those years of 3-and-out Hawkball? God he was great.
So many cool things about him: first coach to offer a black player a scholly in the SWC, "Scratch Where it Itches", The Swarm, etc. etc.

kcfanintitanhell
06-21-2005, 04:50 PM
I seem to remember the same year the Pope came to Des Moines Hayden had taken the Hawkeyes to the Rose Bowl in his first or second year as coach. A Des Moines Register popularity poll on the eve of the Pope's visit still had Hayden #1, the Pope #2.

vailpass
06-21-2005, 05:24 PM
I seem to remember the same year the Pope came to Des Moines Hayden had taken the Hawkeyes to the Rose Bowl in his first or second year as coach. A Des Moines Register popularity poll on the eve of the Pope's visit still had Hayden #1, the Pope #2.

ROFL I probably shouldn't laugh but man that's funny. I don't remember the poll but I do remember the Papal visit and the Rose Bowl where Ronnie "Payoff" Harmon suddenly developed fumbleitis every time the ball came his way. :cuss:

kcfanintitanhell
06-21-2005, 05:37 PM
ROFL I probably shouldn't laugh but man that's funny. I don't remember the poll but I do remember the Papal visit and the Rose Bowl where Ronnie "Payoff" Harmon suddenly developed fumbleitis every time the ball came his way. :cuss:

Yeah, and that RB for Washington (Jacque?) suddenly became the Heisman candidate two months after the fact.... :rolleyes: