JMU roundup: Dukes baseball team announces new pitching coach
HARRISONBURG – Jimmy Jackson has been named assistant coach and pitching coach for the James Madison baseball team, as announced by head coach Marlin Ikenberry on Tuesday afternoon.
“We are very excited to have Jimmy and his family join the JMU Baseball family,” Ikenberry said. “I was very impressed with his staffs, both at Fordham and Sienna, over the last seven years, and his background in pitching and development planning will help propel our program’s pitching.”
Jackson comes to Harrisonburg from Fordham, where he spent four seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, putting together some of the Atlantic 10’s best pitching staffs along the way.
In 2015, his staff combined to break the program record for strikeouts in a season, as the Rams fanned 392 opposing batters to break the 1999 mark of 387 en route to their second straight appearance in the A-10 Championship. Jackson also saw two members of his first recruiting class selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including pitcher Brett Kennedy, who was taken in the 11th round by the San Diego Padres.
The 2014 season marked Fordham’s first appearance in the A-10 Championship in four seasons, as Jackson guided the pitching staff to its best strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.91:1) since joining the conference.
“I would like to thank Coach Ikenberry for giving my family and me the opportunity to be a part of this incredible university and baseball program,” Jackson said. “Coach Ikenberry has a proven track record and has set the bar high for this program. I am looking forward to being a part of that climb and continuing the rich tradition of JMU Baseball.”
Prior to his four years at Fordham, Jackson spent three years at Siena, the last two as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. The pitching staff led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in ERA in his first season as pitching coach and finished second in the conference the following year.
Jackson’s staff lowered its ERA by two full runs each season and, in 2011, posted the program’s best ERA in over 10 years. Siena’s pitchers also broke three individual season records and two season staff records, as well as a pair of freshman season records.
In three years at Siena, the Saints had multiple All-Conference and All-Region players, as well as one Freshman All-American and one All-American.
Prior to Siena, Jackson spent three years as the varsity pitching coach at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn, Maryland. In that time, Archbishop Spalding had 17 players who advanced to play in college, including 10 pitchers. Additionally, Jackson delivered private lessons to over 20 players that moved onto the collegiate ranks, including eight who played at the Division I level.
“Jimmy has coached with some of the most dynamic leaders and coaches in baseball, including Steve Miller at Archbishop Spalding High School, Tony Rossi at Siena and Kevin Leighton at Fordham,” Ikenberry said. “He has developed great arms that went on to play professional baseball everywhere he has coached, including both the collegiate and high school ranks.”
Originally from Glen Burnie, Maryland, and a graduate of Old Mill High School, Jackson played two years (2004 and 2005) of independent professional baseball in the Frontier and Atlantic Leagues after a standout collegiate career that ended in 2004 at Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He was a two-way player as an infielder and pitcher at Shepherd, earning First Team All-Conference, All-Region and Preseason All-American honors as a pitcher. He still holds multiple pitching records at Shepherd. Jackson and his wife, Brittany, have one son, Grayson.
JMU returns all but two players heading into 2016 and brings back eight of nine starters for the Dukes’ first season under the new coaching staff.