Marshall men’s basketball coach Dan D’Antoni announced on Friday that assistant coach Cornelius Jackson has been promoted to Associate Head Coach.
“Corny has earned his way,” D’Antoni said of Jackson. “I didn’t hand it to him. He earned it. I think saying thank you is extremely important when dealing with people you work with or anyone connected to Marshall. This is my way of being able to say thank you to Corny because he’s earned it and it gets him to a position that he deserves.”
Jackson said he is humbled by the opportunity to earn the title at his alma mater, which means so much to him.
“First of all, it’s great to work with Coach Dan,” Jackson said. “I’ve been here going on seven seasons now and I’ve learned a lot from coach. I appreciate the Associate Head Coach title and the faith that he has in me to name me Associate Head Coach. I understand that people make places, and I couldn’t be happier being surrounded by a great group of coaches, players, administrators and fans than those at Marshall, so blessed is an understatement.”
D’Antoni said part of what makes Jackson special to the program and to the players is his wealth of knowledge in the game of basketball combined with his passion for Marshall University and his home state.
Jackson, a native and graduate of Oak Hill, played for Marshall from 1998-2001, meaning he has walked the walk with the Thundering Herd, which gives him instant credibility with the players in getting them to trust in the system and coaching staff.
“Corny’s a good floor coach, obviously, and has a good demeanor – tough when he has to be, but keeps a positive edge about him – but he’s as much to the off-court success with the mental health and chemistry of the team as what he is on the court,” D’Antoni said. “He’s really good at bringing a team together to have them playing for all the right reasons.”
The positive edge that D’Antoni spoke of with Jackson shined through when Jackson spoke of what makes coaching at Marshall University special to him.
“The most fun for me – and I’ve learned this from coach – is that a lot of times, coaches look at guys and you talk about what they can’t do or what they aren’t capable of,” Jackson said. “Coach is really good at breeding confidence and letting guys be creative. One of the first things he told me when I got the job and was in charge of player development, he said, ‘Be creative but not circus-like.’ That means use your imagination, keep it in the scheme of how we play offensively, but don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and use your own imagination. I think our guys feed off that from a development and growth standpoint.”
D’Antoni said his trust in Jackson was built early when he saw Jackson’s approach to player development.
“He didn’t come in and teach them how he played,” D’Antoni said. “He adapted his teachings to my game and how I want them to play. A lot of coaches can’t do that. They only see the game how they were – especially former players. In every aspect, Corny recruits and teaches my philosophies, which gets us the best possible player on the floor for what we want to do as a program. It’s been a great relationship.”
Jackson arrived at Marshall prior to the 2017-18 season and success came immediately with the team making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 31 years.
During Jackson’s six seasons as an assistant under D’Antoni, Marshall men’s basketball has gone a combined 116-76 (60.4 winning percentage).