SEATTLE — Washington basketball coach Lorenzo Romar announced that Brad Jackson, who guided Western Washington University to the 2012 NCAA Division II national championship, is joining the Huskies’ staff as an assistant coach.
Jackson, 60, a graduate of Hudson’s Bay High School, coached 27 seasons at Western Washington and amassed a school record 518 wins during his time with the Vikings. The crowning moment of his tenure came this past season when he led Western Washington to a 31-5 record and the NCAA II national title with a 72-65 win over Motevallo (Ala.).
“I think we got an absolute steal,” said Romar, who is a long-time friend of Jackson. “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.
“I have tried to hire him before and it just didn’t work out. He is successful, very accomplished and knows the Northwest. He has been here forever. He is definitely going to help our program.”
Jackson leaves WWU ranked 44th in NCAA II in career victories, and would have entered the season No. 13 among active coaches in victories and No. 40 in winning percentage (.650). He holds a career record of 518-279.
“We’re very excited,” said Jackson with his wife, Debbie, by his side. “Coach Romar and I have been good friends for many, many years. I think the opportunity for us is one that we feel is a new step professionally. It’s an opportunity to be at a great university and a great program with a very good friend.”
Jackson directed WWU to 19 national post-season appearances, winning the NCAA II national title in 2012 and reaching the national semifinals in 2001. The Vikings had 12 20-win seasons during Jackson’s tenure, including a school-record four straight in the late 1980s. With such a long history in Bellingham, the decision to leave WWU was a very tough one.
“It was very, very hard,” said Jackson about the decision process. “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.”
“But, the fact that I’ve headed a program for 27 years and sort of built it from scratch, leaving that is difficult. The other part is the current players. Some of the relationships I have with them have gone on for quite a few years. Those are going to be the toughest parts about leaving.”
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, Jackson went from Hudson’s Bay 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 will begin his new duties with the Huskies on Monday and accompany the team on its trip to Europe and Africa that begins Aug. 25.