Jackson leaves U football team

Terry Jackson II, who bailed out the Gopher football team in 2002 when the backfield was racked by injuries, has announced he's leaving school.

Terry Jackson II ran for 1,317 yards in 2002, the fifth-best total ever for a Gopher running back. But with the backfield suddenly too crowded, Jackson has decided to transfer to Southern Illinois.

Jackson informed Gopher coach Glen Mason of his plans Tuesday. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior saw little playing time last year as Marion Barber III returned from injury and freshman Laurence Maroney exploded onto the scene.

"I met with Terry today and he has informed me that it is in his best interest to transfer to Southern Illinois University," Mason said. "While we certainly wish him the best of luck, we are sorry to see him decide to leave, as Terry was a valued member of the Minnesota football program. However, we also understand his unique position and his desire for more playing time. We are sure that he will be successful in his decision."

2002 was a banner year for Jackson, who became the first Gopher running back to rush for 200 yards in consecutive games when he ran for 239 yards and two TDs vs. Northwestern on Oct. 10 and 238 yards on 29 carries at Michigan State on Oct. 19.

He also earned the Bruce Smith Award as the team's outstanding offensive player and was listed among ESPN.com's top 100 impact players in NCAA Division I football in 2002.

Kate Cortis named assistant soccer coach

The U announced the hiring of Kate Cortis as assistant coach of the Golden Gopher women's soccer team. A native of Birmingham, Mich., Cortis was an assistant, along with newly hired head coach Mikki Denney Wright, at the University of Missouri.

"Kate is one of the best young coaches in the nation, and we are lucky to have her on board," Denney Wright said. "She has a tremendous soccer mind and is an outstanding leader of young women."

In her one season at Missouri, Cortis helped lead the Tigers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999. Missouri earned the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament win against Eastern Illinois in the first round.

"I am excited and honored for the opportunity to help Coach Denney Wright build a tradition of excellence here at the University of Minnesota," Cortis said.

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