The Washington Huskies are adding a national champion to their coaching staff. On Friday, head coach Lorenzo Romar announced that longtime Western Washington head coach Brad Jackson will join his staff as an assistant.
Jackson has spent the last 27 seasons at Western, winning a record 518 games. But this last season was crowning achievement, leading the Vikings to the NCAA Division II National Championship and a 31-5 record.
"I think we got an absolute steal," Romar said in a press release. "You hire a basketball coach off of winning a national championship ... it doesn't happen very often. I'm just ecstatic that he has decided to do this."
Now 60, Jackson has been a fixture in local basketball circles. Under his direction, Western has made 19 postseason appearances and 12 20 win seasons.
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"I have tried to hire him before and it just didn't work out," Romar said. "He is successful, very accomplished and knows the Northwest. He has been here forever. He is definitely going to help our program."
After such a long and storied career in Bellingham, Jackson said the decision to leave wasn't an easy one.
"It was very, very hard," he said in the press release. "Our roots are in Bellingham. The other side of that is that my wife grew up in Seattle, I started my coaching career here at SPU and we have a lot of friends here. It is only an hour drive away. The logistics are very easy."
Jackson will travel with the Huskies on their trip Spain, France and Senegal
The job opening for Jackson was made available by the fact that assistant Raphael Chillious is leaving the program for a similar job at Villanova. CBS Sports is reporting that Chillious has accepted the job and the announcement will be made Monday.
While Jackson brings years of experience, the loss of Chillious is a blow to the program. Since coming to Montlake after coaching Isaiah Thomas for two years at South Kent Prep, Chillious has been one of UW's best recruiters
Jackson ranks third among the winningest collegiate basketball coaches in state of Washington history with 518 victories, and is one of just five to reach the 500 mark. Jackson was recruited to WSU by the leader in that category Marv Harshman (637), who stands No. 2 in University of Washington history with 246 wins. Jackson also coached against the No.2 person on the state's list, Central Washington's Dean Nicholson (620).
Originally from Vancouver, Wash., Jackson graduated from Hudson's Bay High School. He went on to Washington State where he played both basketball and baseball and graduated in 1975. Jackson led the Pac-8 in assists as a senior.
He would go on to earn a master's degree from Seattle Pacific and served five years as an assistant coach at SPU and five years as a high school head coach prior to coming to WWU in 1985.
Jackson's father-in-law, Roland Halle, was a member of Washington's national semifinal team in 1953.