Coach Jackson was born in 1965 and is a native to Lansing, Michigan. While in high school Kevin won two state titles for Eastern High School and then went on to become a Junior National Greco Roman Champion.
Kevin started his college career at LSU and in his first three years wrestling there became an All American. Unfortunately the wrestling program was dropped before Kevin’s senior year so he transferred to Iowa State. I remember this because we received a transfer from LSU when I wrestled at Eastern Illinois University in 1987. Kevin captained the Cyclones to a team championship and earned himself a fourth All American status by placing 2nd.
After completing college Kevin went on to prove to be one of the greatest wrestlers in the World in the 90’s by winning three World titles, one of only 5 Americans in history to do this. His World titles were two Pan American wins as a member of the U.S. World Team and a Gold Medal in freestyle at the 1992 Olympic Games. Kevin also continued competing on the National level and won 3 freestyle National titles and was runner up 5 times. In 1998 Kevin won the Takhti Cup in Tehran, Iran and became the first American to do this.
Kevin’s accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed and he was recognized with the following;
1995 John Smith Award as National Freestyle Wrestler of the year
1992 Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year
1991 USA Wrestling and USOC Wrestler of the Year
Kevin switched gears and like so many great wrestlers transitioned into MMA or Mixed Martial Arts. Kevin participated in and won the UFC 14 Tournament at Middleweight. He then traveled to Japan and fought Frank Shamrock for the UFC Middleweight title but lost by armbar. After six fights Coach retired from MMA in 1998 with a record of 4 wins (by submission) and 2 losses both by submission.
Kevin’s stellar wrestling career has earned him several places of prominence such as;
FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame
U.S. National Wrestling Hall of Fame
Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame
Iowa State University Athletics Hall of Fame
Kevin went on to become one of the greatest coaches in the country and his resume reads about as accomplished as any. Coach Jackson was the Head Coach at the Sunkist youth development program and while there personally trained Brandon Slay to an Olympic Gold Medal in 2000. Then he went on to coach the U.S. Army team at Fort Carson, the U.S. Olympic training center and then for the next eight years was the USA Wrestling’s first full time freestyle coach for the organization. While at USAW Coach Jackson took two teams to the Olympics in which two of his wrestlers won Gold- Cael Sanderson (2004) and Henry Cejudo (2008). Coach Jackson’s best team finishes at the World Cup were;
1st in 2001
2nd in 2003
3rd in 2006
Coach Jackson then took over the Head Coaching spot at Iowa State in 2009 after Coach Sanderson left for Penn State. In Coach Jackson’s first year at the helm he got the Cyclones to a 13-2 overall dual record and was undefeated in Big 12 conference competition. Coach Jackson was acknowledged with Amateur Wrestling News Magazines 2010 Rookie Coach of the Year. The team results were not impressive in the next two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12) but did have Jon Reader as a stand out that won the NCAA’s in 2011 and finished the season with a perfect 39-0 record. In 2012-13 the Cyclones got things back on track and finished the season with a 11-3 dual record, a second place finish at the Big 12 Conference and finished 11th at the NCAA Tournament. This year the Cyclones are currently ranked 13th according to InterMat.com ranking’s. One thing is for sure, in just over one month we will find out where the Cyclones finish at the NCAA’s.