New Missouri coach Kerrick Jackson will be the first black head coach in SEC baseball history

Memphis head coach Kerrick Jackson heads for the dugout during an NCAA baseball game against Tulane Sunday, April 2, 2023 in New Orleans.  (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Kerrick Jackson was on the Missouri coaching staff as an assistant when the Tigers last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2012. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Missouri announced Sunday that it has hired Memphis coach Kerrick Jackson as its new baseball head coach.

Jackson, a former Missouri assistant coach, will be the first black baseball head coach in SEC history and was one of four black men who started the 2023 season as head coaches in non-HBCU schools at the highest level of college baseball.

“We have sought to find a successful character leader to rejuvenate a program, and we have certainly found it in Kerrick Jackson,” Missouri athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said in a statement. “He’s a tireless recruiter, fierce competitor, and coach with deep roots in the Midwest. Coach Jackson knows what success in college baseball looks like, especially at Mizzou.

A native of St. Louis, Jackson was hired after Steve Bieser was fired at the end of the 2023 season and took over a Missouri baseball program that hasn’t made the NCAA baseball tournament in more than a year. decade. The Tigers last entered the tournament in 2012 when Jackson was an assistant. Missouri baseball has struggled to keep pace with the SEC since leaving the Big 12.

“It’s a great honor to return to the University of Missouri and lead the baseball program,” Jackson said. “I’ve seen this program at its league best and understand both what it takes to get there and the importance of baseball to the state, region and within the Southeastern Conference. .

Jackson was in Memphis for just one season after a three-year stint as MLB Draft League president. The six-team Draft League launched in 2021 as a showcase for draft-eligible players ahead of the annual MLB Draft.

Memphis went 29-28 in 2023 after posting a 26-29 record in 2022.

Prior to leading the Draft League, Jackson coached at Southern from 2018-2020 and the Jaguars played in the NCAA Tournament in 2019. He also served as a scout for the Washington Nationals.

Jackson’s hiring as Missouri’s baseball coach comes less than a year after there were no black coaches on any of the eight College World Series teams. Fewer than two dozen black players were on teams that reached the CWS, and only 4% of college baseball players were black in 2021, according to the Associated Press.

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