Jeff Jackson, who led Lake Superior State to NCAA hockey championships in 1992 and 1994, has been named the new head coach at Notre Dame.
Jackson spent nine years away from the college game since leaving LSSU after the 1996 season. In the last few years, Jackson’s name has been mentioned for just about every high profile opening.
“Jeff Jackson has a first-hand appreciation of exactly what it takes to be successful at the very highest level of the collegiate hockey world,” said Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White. “His accomplishments at Lake Superior State in winning multiple NCAA titles — combined with his work and connections from the United States national developmental program and from the professional level — provide him a solid foundation from which to lead the Notre Dame hockey program.
“We’re excited he’s coming to Notre Dame, and I think it’s fair to say he’s excited about the opportunities ahead of him with our program.”
The highly-regarded Jackson, 49, brings over 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, he started as an assistant coach at Lake Superior in 1986 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 and in a six-year span (1991-96), guided them to six consecutive NCAA appearances, including three straight trips to the title game from 1992 through 1994.
In 1992, the Lakers defeated Wisconsin in the title game; in 1993, they lost to Maine; and in 1994, Lake Superior took the title versus Boston University. Jackson’s six-year record at Lake Superior was 182-52-25 for a .751 winning percentage, the best among active Division I coaches with 200 games. In CCHA play, the Lakers were 120-38-23, winning two regular-season championships (1991 and 1996) and four tournament championships (1991, 1992, 1993 and 1995).
During his six years guiding the Lakers, Jackson produced 12 All-Americans (five first team and seven second team). In 1991, he was recognized as the CCHA coach of the year. He is just one of 12 coaches to win multiple NCAA championships. From 1993-96, he also served as the Director of Athletics at Lake Superior.
Several of Jackson’s players advanced to play in the NHL. The list includes: Doug Weight, Brian Rolston, Keith Aldridge, Blaine Lacher, John Grahame, Bates Battaglia and Jim Dowd.
Following the 1995-96 season, Jackson moved on to take over as national coach and senior director of the fledgling U.S. National Team Development program based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In his first season while putting the program in place, he served as the head coach for the United States Junior National Team that captured the silver medal at the 1997 World Junior Championships, at the time, the best finish ever for the U.S. team.
Jackson was let go as head coach of the program in 2000, and he soon hooked on as head coach with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. In the 2001-02 season, the Storm went 37-23-7-1 and hosted the Memorial Cup, advancing to the tiebreaker game where they lost to Victoriaville. In two-and-a-half seasons in Guelph, Jackson had an 87-67-24-4 record.
He then moved on to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League where he has served as an assistant on Steve Stirling’s staff the past two seasons.