The 2012-13 season marks the seventh at Furman for Jeff Jackson, who was introduced as Furman's 20th head men's basketball coach on April 24, 2006, by Furman Athletics Director Dr. Gary Clark.
Last season, Jackson's Paladins posted 15 wins and an 8-10 Southern Conference mark despite returning just one starter from the previous season.
In 2010-11, the New York, N.Y., native led the Paladins to their most successful campaign in two decades as Furman posted a 22-11 overall record, 12-6 Southern Conference mark and earned a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, the school's first postseason bid since 1991. Furman's 22 wins ranked as the second most in school history and the most by a Paladin squad in 30 years.
Jackson's team , led by All-SoCon forward Amu Saaka, also record a 91-75 victory over instate foe South Carolina which represented the Paladins' first victory over the Gamecocks since the 1979-80 season.
The previous year, Jackson saw his efforts to rebuild the Paladin program begin to pay off as he guided Furman to as many wins as they had achieved in the previous two years combined. Jackson's squad compiled an 8-6 home record and scored a road victory over eventual SoCon North Division champion Appalachian State.
In his first season in charge, Jackson directed Furman to a 15-win campaign, including a 70-62 triumph over Vanderbilt in Nashville and a 76-72 overtime win over Southern Conference North Division champion Appalachian State in Greenville. In addition, the new Paladin mentor and his highly motivated staff hit the recruiting trail hard, producing a talented seven-member freshman class -- one of the largest in program history.
Over the next two seasons, Jackson began laying the future foundation of Furman basketball with five freshman earning time in the starting lineup on a 2007-08 Paladin club that included just one senior. His second Furman squad, one of the youngest teams in the nation, showed noticeable progress, downing league power College of Charleston and fashioning a three-game home winning streak to conclude the regular season. The following year, Furman featured 11 players who were freshmen or sophomores, and Jackson's young team again gained valuable experience against a rugged non-conference schedule and tough SoCon slate.
Jackson served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt University for seven seasons prior to his move to Greenville.
"This is a signal moment in the history of Furman basketball," said Clark at the time of Jackson's hiring. "In Jeff Jackson we have secured an accomplished recruiter and experienced floor coach who will be an outstanding leader of our basketball program. He is also a gentleman of the highest integrity who will be an ideal ambassador for Paladin basketball."
Another voice familiar with Furman and its unique position in the realm of collegiate athletics, highly respected former Paladin and Vanderbilt and football coach, Bobby Johnson, offered this insight on Jackson:
"I had the pleasure of knowing Jeff for five years at Vanderbilt and from the start thought he was an outstanding person. He is an excellent recruiter who represented Vanderbilt with total class, and I have no doubt he will do the same for Furman. He and I had an opportunity to talk many times, and I know he wouldn't have left Vanderbilt except for a great situation, and Furman affords him that opportunity. He's a perfect fit for Paladin basketball and the Furman community, and he is well prepared to handle the university's academic challenges and competition he will face in the Southern Conference."
During Jackson's tenure at Vanderbilt under head coach Kevin Stallings, the Commodores made one NCAA Tournament appearance and participated in four National Invitation Tournaments. In 2004 the Commodores posted a 23-10 record and advanced to the NCAA "Sweet 16" with wins over Western Michigan and N.C. State before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut. That same year he was named one of the top 25 college basketball recruiters in the country by Rivals.com after Vanderbilt's 2005 freshman class garnered national recognition by the service.
Vanderbilt followed up its stellar 2004 campaign with a 20-14 season in 2005 and trip to the NIT, where the Commodores advanced to the quarterfinals with victories over Indiana and Wichita State. In 2006 Vanderbilt finished 16-13 season and registered its fourth NIT appearance this decade.
Jackson made his head coaching debut at New Hampshire in 1997, taking over a program that had only twice registered more than 10 wins in a season since 1984. In his first season the Wildcats won seven games and the next year improved to 10-17. His 1998-99 recruiting class was ranked 15th by Mike Sheridan of Eastern Basketball Magazine, marking the first time in school history a New Hampshire recruiting class had ever achieved a regional ranking.
Jackson's coaching worksheet includes four seasons at Stanford, where he served as recruiting coordinator under head coach Mike Montgomery from 1994-97. During his stay in Palo Alto, the Cardinal won 20 games twice and made the school's first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
The 1995-96 Stanford squad was ranked as high as No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. In the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal, a No. 9 seed, defeated Bradley in the opening round before falling to eventual Final Four participant Massachusetts.
Prior to his move to Stanford, Jackson served in assistant coaching capacities at Colorado State (1989-92), and St. Bonaventure (1986-89). He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Southern California in 1985 after serving as a student assistant coach his final two years at Cornell.
Jackson graduated from Cornell in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and labor relations. He and his wife, Carolyn, also a graduate of Cornell, have three children: Xavier,, Jenai, and Taylor.