May 1, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – University of Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson has signed a two-year contract extension to continue as coach of the Fighting Irish hockey program through the 2012-13 campaign.
In just two seasons behind the Notre Dame bench, Jackson has guided the Irish from last place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) to a CCHA regular-season and tournament championship in 2006-07.
Jackson’s Notre Dame squad turned in its best record ever in ’06-’07, going 32-7-3 overall and 21-4-3 in the conference. The Irish were ranked number one in the nation for seven consecutive weeks (Feb. 5-March 16) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the program’s 39-year history, winning their first-ever NCAA tournament contest — a 3-2 double-overtime triumph against Alabama-Huntsville.
Jackson’s squad had a 19-point improvement in the CCHA standings from ’05-’06 to ’06-’07 — and won 19 more games this past season than in his first year with the Irish (13-19-6).
For his efforts, Jackson was named the 2007 CCHA coach of the year and was the 2007 recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award as the Division I national coach of the year. He was also named USCHO.com, Inside College Hockey.com and College Hockey News.com’s Division I coach of the year.
“In just two years, Jeff has made the Irish hockey program one of the best and most exciting in the country, while also maintaining our commitment to excellence in the classroom. I look forward to many more years of on- and off-the-ice success under his leadership,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president.
Added Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White: “Jeff in a very short time has taken our hockey program places it has never been before. The way in which he went about positioning Notre Dame as one of the elite teams in the country this past season suggests that he has every intention of keeping us in that sort of company as we look to the future.”
The highly-respected hockey tactician took over the Notre Dame program on May 6, 2005, as the fourth coach since the program’s Division I inception in 1968.
In two seasons with the Irish, Jackson owns a 45-26-7 (.622) record — and in eight seasons as a Division I head coach (six seasons at Lake Superior State) he is 227-78-32 (.721), for the top winning percentage among all active Division I coaches.
“I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to continue what we started this season with the Notre Dame hockey program. It’s definitely a vote of confidence for both our coaching staff (Paul Pooley, Andy Slaggert, Mike McNeill) and the team. We look forward to building on the success we had last season,” said Jackson.
Success is nothing new for Jackson on the Division I level. He returned to college hockey at Notre Dame in 2005 after 10 years away from the collegiate game. In his six years at Lake Superior, Jackson’s teams won NCAA titles in 1992 and 1994 (also advancing to the finals in 1993), two CCHA regular-season championships (`91 and `96) and four CCHA tournament trophies (`91, `92, `93 and `95). His 1992-93 team also advanced to the NCAA championship game, losing a 5-4 decision to Maine. Following his first season, Jackson won his first CCHA coach-of-the-year award.
In taking over the Irish coaching duties in `05, the Roseville, Mich., native became the first Notre Dame head coach to have won an NCAA Division I championship with another program before being hired as an Irish head coach.
Jackson brings more 20 years of coaching experience to the Irish as an assistant and a head coach at the NCAA Division I level, on the international level with the U.S. national program, in major junior hockey and at the National Hockey League level.
A 1978 graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in communications, Jackson followed with a degree in education in 1979. He got his start in college hockey in 1986 as an assistant coach at Lake Superior State where he served four years under Frank Anzalone, helping guide the Lakers to one CCHA championship and the 1988 NCAA title.
When Anzalone moved to the professional ranks following the 1989-90 season, Jackson took over as the head coach of the Lakers, spending six seasons in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the final three as director of athletics.
From 1996 to 2000, Jackson served as national coach and senior director of the newly-founded U.S. National Team Development program based in Ann Arbor, Mich. During his time with the national program, he was head coach of the silver medal-winning 1997 U.S. Junior National team and, in 1998, served as an assistant on Team USA at the Nagano Winter Olympic Games.
In 2000, Jackson left the U.S. program and took over as coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Guelph Storm where he spent two and a half seasons, recording an 87-67-24-4 record.
From Guelph, Jackson moved on to the National Hockey League’s (NHL) New York Islanders where he served as an assistant on Steve Stirling’s staff from 2003-05.
Born June 22, 1955, Jackson is a member of the USA Hockey Coaches Achievement Program, the American Hockey Coaches Association and the National Hockey League Coaches Association.