Friday, May 06, 2005

Jackson in at Notre Dame has an article up where Minnesota coach Don Lucia says that he fully expects former Lake Superior coach Jeff Jackson to be named the next head coach at Notre Dame.

While Don Lucia isn't Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, we'll assume that he is correct in his statement. Jeff Jackson certainly brings an established track record to Notre Dame. His Lake Superior teams were some of the finest college hockey teams ever. He was probably one of the most high-profile candidates out there as well. Whenever a job opened up, his name is one that is always mentioned. But is this really the direction that Notre Dame wants to go in?

Yes, Jackson has the credentials, but he is almost 50 years old and while he has remained in the game of hockey with the start-up of the National Training and Development Program, coaching in the OHL, and an assistant coaching job in the NHL, nothing has really worked out for him. He's been fired from a couple of those jobs and hasn't found nearly the success that he did at Lake Superior. It's been close to a decade since he has really achieved anything in the game of hockey.

Not only that, but Jackson may not even be that interested in the job. He's made comments that he is sick of the college hockey game and the restrictions the NCAA places on recruiting. So why would he want this job? My guess is because Jackson believes the grass is always greener on the other side. Talk show host and former Michigan assistant coach Dave Shand loves to bring Jackson as an example of a guy who had everything he wanted at Lake Superior and left simply because he felt like there was something better out there, only to never reach the level of success he had at his previous job. If Jackson does take this job, I wonder how long he will be there before he remembers why he didn't like the NCAA in the first place and starts looking for that next better job.

Maybe Jackson has what it takes to turn things around at Notre Dame. Dave Poulin didn't leave the cupboard totally bare depsite an awful season. While Notre Dame doesn't have top notch talent, they can play a tight defensive game that gives other teams fits if they bring their best effort. Jackson is a short-term fix at best, however. I would have much rather seen Notre Dame go after a young guy that is willing to throw himself completely into the job and perhaps turn Notre Dame into a consistent power.

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