University of Alabama head baseball coach Brad Bohannon officially announced the addition of Jason Jackson to the Crimson Tide coaching staff on Tuesday, June 13. Jackson is the second addition to Bohannon's Crimson Tide staff and comes to Tuscaloosa after spending 16 years as an assistant, including the past nine as the pitching coach at Florida Atlantic University.
"I am really excited to add Jason to my coaching team," said Bohannon. "As I worked through putting this staff together, I made dozens of phone calls and his name kept coming up. I was looking for a coach who has an outstanding track record of developing pitchers, someone who has proven that they can evaluate and recruit at an extremely high level, and a person of high character and integrity who connects well with young people. Once I got Jason on campus and spent time with him, I knew he was the perfect fit for what Alabama baseball needs at this point in time."
Jackson has built a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the Southeast and is known for his ability to develop talent on the mound. Before his most recent stint in Boca Raton, he was an assistant at South Alabama (2007-08), Mercer University (2003-06), and North Florida Community College (2002). In all of those stops, Jackson served as a pitching coach, recruiting coordinator or both.
During his nine seasons with the Owls, Jackson helped FAU develop into one of the top baseball programs in the NCAA South-Central region. Jackson joined the FAU staff in 2008 and worked his way to the title of Associate Head Coach by September of 2016. Throughout the nine-year span in Boca Raton, the FAU program captured four conference titles and appeared in four NCAA Regionals, including the 2013 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional, where they defeated top-seeded host North Carolina. On the hill, Jackson coached 13 pitchers that were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Jackson's 13 pitchers that were selected in the Major League Baseball Drafts during his time at FAU include: David McKay (14th Round, Kansas City Royals), Colyn O'Connell (26th Round, Detroit Tigers) and Robbie Coursel (26th Round, Pittsburgh Pirates) in 2016; Seth McGarry (8th Round, Pittsburgh Pirates), Kyle Miller (19th Round, Chicago Cubs) and Drew Jackson (35th Round, San Francisco Giants) in 2015; Austin Gomber (4th Round, St. Louis Cardinals) in 2014; Michael Sylvestri (29th Round, Washington Nationals) in 2013; R.J. Alvarez (3rd Round, Los Angeles Angels) and Ryan Garton (34th Round, Tampa Bay Rays) in 2012; Paul Davis (17th Round, San Francisco Giants) in 2011; Ryan Bernal (23rd Round, Milwaukee Brewers) and Mike Gipson (31st Round, New York Yankees) in 2010; and Alex Pepe (44th Round, Texas Rangers) in 2009.
The 2017 season under Jackson's watch saw the Owls rank second in ERA and allow the second-fewest earned runs. FAU's pitchers struck out 444 compared to only 131 walks while holding the opposition to a league-low .262 average. The pitching staff was highlighted by second team All-Conference USA selection Cameron Ragsdale.
In 2016, the Owls' staff paced Conference USA with a 3.24 ERA, six shutouts and a 1.21 WHIP, while allowing a league-low for walks, runs and doubles en route to winning the C-USA regular-season championship. The FAU pitchers ranked 14th in the nation in both ERA and walks allowed, and 15th in WHIP. The 2015 slate featured the emergence of several pitchers who gained national traction under Jackson's guidance, including one who received All-Conference honors.
As the Owls made their transition into Conference USA in 2014, Jackson's pitchers allowed only nine home runs, the fewest FAU history and the fewest in C-USA that season. The Owls ranked 19th nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.57 – a category in which they led the league in four of the last five seasons thanks to Jackson's guidance. The 2013 team featured FAU closer Hugh Adams, as he set the school's season saves record with 18 on the way to recording both the FAU and Sun Belt Conference career saves mark with 31.
In his first three seasons at FAU, Jackson helped guide the Owls to two Sun Belt Conference titles in a three-year span. Jackson tutored starting pitcher Paul Davis and Adams earn All-South Central Region selections by the National Baseball Coaches Association of America at the end of the 2011 season.
He spent 2007 and 2008 as an assistant coach at the University of South Alabama. Two of Jackson's pitchers at USA were selected in the 2008 MLB Draft. Under his direction in 2007, Jaguar pitchers struck out 188 more batters than they walked during the previous season before his arrival.
Jackson began his collegiate coaching career as a pitching coach at North Florida Community College in 2002 before moving to Macon, Ga., in 2003 to serve as an assistant coach at Mercer University. Jackson was essential in establishing a number of new university pitching records during his three seasons with the Bears, and was elevated to the program's recruiting coordinator in 2006.
Jackson earned his bachelor's degree from Florida State in physical education in 2000, before going on to obtain a master's degree in sports administration at FSU. A native of Tallahassee, Fla., he and his wife, Katie, have three children, Kinsey, Tyler and Haylee.