Memphis has named Kerrick Jackson as its baseball coach in a historic move by the school.
Jackson is replacing Daron Schoenrock, who retired after 18 seasonswith a 463-533 career record. Memphis finished the 2022 season with a 26-29 record, losing to UCF Friday in the third round of the AAC Tournament.
Jackson is expected to meet the team in-person on Sunday, according to a source familiar with the situation. The source requested anonymity because no official announcement has been made.
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“I think there are a lot of jobs that are really good jobs,” Jackson told The Commercial Appeal. “But when you can wrap everything around it and, specifically, the community, I think you’ve got to take advantage of those opportunities and this is one of those places for me.”
Jackson – the 17th baseball coach in program history – becomes the Tigers’ first Black baseball coach. Barring any changes in the American Athletic Conference this offseason, Jackson will also be the only Black coach in the league in 2023. He’s also one of only three Black non-HBCU baseball coaches in the country at present.
When Jackson’s playing career ended at Nebraska in 1997, he stayed in the game. He spent time as an assistant coach at six different stops in nine years before landing his first head coaching job at Southern University, an HBCU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2018.
“As a Black coach, I was always intrigued by the idea of coaching at Southern,” Jackson told The Advocate in 2019. “With all the stuff going on about lack Black kids playing the game, seeing opportunities out there created for Black youths to be able to play, I wanted to be involved in that.”
A native of St. Louis, Jackson boasts a decorated and unique resumé that spans more than two decades. He will arrive at Memphis fresh off his stint as the inaugural president of the MLB Draft League, a collegiate summer league designed to showcase under-scouted draft-eligible players. The venture, created in 2020, is jointly run by Major League Baseball and Prep Baseball Report.
Prior to that, Jackson spent three seasons at Southern. The Jaguars won nine games in his first season, but he turned things around in 2019, leading them to a 32-24 record, a SWAC championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Jackson, who was named SWAC Coach of the Year in 2019, also spent five seasons at Missouri as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Before joining the coaching staff at Missouri, Jackson served as the Midwest area scouting supervisor for the Washington Nationals. After leaving Missouri, he spent two years as an MLB-certified player agent for super-agent Scott Boras’ group.
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at email@example.com or on Twitter @munzly.