Meet Cornell Jackson

For those Husky fans that are still taking in the addition of Bobby Kennedy better grab another big gulp of air because Rick Neuheisel pulled the trigger quickly Sunday night and added Cornell Jackson to complete the 2002 Washington football coaching staff.

"He's no longer the new guy, is he?" Jackson remarked about Kennedy tonight. "I'm the new guy now. He's old news." (laughs)

There was little question Neuheisel was going to add another coach before Spring practices, but the hiring of Jackson happened very quickly. "Well, it happened Sunday night," Cornell said. "I interviewed with the entire staff and Coach Neuheisel on Saturday. Coach Neuheisel called me and offered me the position Sunday night and I accepted. I once coached at Arizona State for four years and I'm excited to be back in the Pac-10 and excited to be at the University of Washington."

Jackson will be coming from the University of Houston where he coached the linebackers for two seasons. One of his players at Houston was 2001 Conference USA co-Defensive Player of the Year Wayne Rogers.

During the interview process, Jackson felt very much at ease and knew he had found a new home. "It was exciting," he said about meeting the Husky staff for the first time. "Some interviews you walk in and you are nervous, but I'll tell you what, they made me feel very comfortable. I'm going to enjoy working with this staff."

Jackson is very familiar with a number of current and ex-Husky coaches. "I know Coach Steve Axman very well because he used to be at Northern Arizona when I was at Arizona State and his daughter Mary Beth was our student football secretary at Arizona State," he said. "Brent Myers and I are very good friends. I've known him since 1993. And John Pettas was the quarterbacks coach at Arizona State for the four years I was there."

As with Bobby Kennedy, Jackson is unsure about where he'll be coaching. It shouldn't matter as Cornell has substantial experience on either side. "I don't know that yet," he said. "It's open-ended and we just haven't made a decision as to where I'll be coaching yet. I've coached both side of the ball. I've coached on the defensive side of the ball for 10 years and the offensive side of the ball for 5 years, so you could say I'm bilingual." (laughs)

Cornell gave some insight into what he feels are his strengths as a coach. "I think my strength is recruiting," he said. "I like recruiting and I enjoy recruiting. In recruiting, the coach has to sell the institution, and for the most part that sells itself. But I want to make it hard for a kid to tell me 'No'. They can tell the institution 'No', but it's hard for them to tell a coach 'No'. That's why I think my strength is in recruiting."

Jackson has recruited in Kansas, the Houston, Texas area, Arizona, Missouri, the whole state of California and the Mississippi junior colleges.

Cornell initially attended Hinds Junior College in Raymond, Mississippi and then moved on to a small school in Kansas, Sterling College where he played defensive back.. He's been a college coach for 15 years.

Jackson is familiar with Seattle. "I did an internship with the Seattle Seahawks," he said. "I was there for a month and a half and got to know the city well. I enjoyed it."

He is married and has no children. "We've got a dog," Jackson said with a laugh. "That's good enough right now."

In talking to Jackson, you can tell he is still semi-reeling from the whirlwind of events that have him now heading to the Emerald City. "To be honest, I'm still numb," he said. "Being at Arizona State and playing against the University of Washington and the tradition they have, it's great. I'm numb just knowing that I'm going to be at the University of Washington and be back in the Pac-10 again."

Cornell admits that he won't lose any sleep not being on the opposition's sidelines at Husky Stadium anymore. "It's huge and it's loud and the fans are great," he said, remarking on the stadium. "It's an atmosphere that is all about college football. And the thing is LOUD. That's the one thing I remember about that place."

And his first order of business? "I'm looking forward to working with those players because I know those guys want to do one thing...they want to make it to the Rose Bowl."

There's one former Husky Jackson remembers fondly. "Willie Hurst," he said. "I recruited Willie Hurst back in the day. That son of a gun. He got away from me." (laughs)

Cornell had these final thoughts for Husky fans. "I'm excited," he said. "I'm going to come in there and hopefully bring some excitement to the staff and I'm going to do my darnedest to get back to the Rose Bowl."

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