ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Stephen F. Austin University announced Tuesday the hiring of Jeff Jackson as its next softball head coach. Jackson has spent the last six years as the head coach at Odessa College.

“It was a job that I’ve always been interested in and being out here at Odessa, it’s a good opportunity,” Jackson said.

SFA is an NCAA Division I school in Nacogdoches, Texas. The move will put Jackson in a DI program for the first time in his coaching career. Prior to Odessa College, Jackson served as the head softball coach at Ranger College and an assistant baseball coach at Ranger College and his alma mater McMurry University, an NCAA DIII.

“I wasn’t in a rush to jump on just any job and I think that was the most important thing to me is, I wanted to move up, but not just move,” Jackson said.

Jackson spent the past six years restoring Odessa College softball to its former glory. He led the Wranglers to three consecutive Region V West titles and NJCAA National Tournament appearances.

In 2022 and 2023, the Wranglers finished in third place nationally, tied for a program-best, and with consecutive 55-win seasons, also a school record.

In 2023, Odessa cracked the top of the national rankings for the first time in school history. It was also in this most recent season that Jackson eclipsed 300 career wins as a head coach, 99 of those 300 coming in the past two years alone.

Jackson led seven athletes to All-American honors at Odessa College including first-team All-American pitchers Aydenne Brown (2022) and Rayna Cruickshanks (2023).

“There are just so many memories and so many things that have happened where again I’ve just loved every team, I’ve loved getting to grow with them and getting a chance to watch them not just be successful here, but move on to bigger and better things,” Jackson said. “My life is better because I’ve been in Odessa.”

Jackson inherits an up-and-coming SFA program thanks to former head coach Nicole Dickson, who now coaches at the University of New Mexico. In the program’s 30-year history, the Lady Jacks have achieved 14 seasons with 30 or more wins, including the past five consecutive seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 season due to COVID-19).

“It’s been described as a fancy JUCO and I’m JUCO for sure, I love working hard, I love just being out there and just putting in the effort that it takes in order to be successful at these levels,” Jackson said.

Jackson expressed interest in taking some 2023 Odessa College sophomore graduates with him to Nacogdoches but intends to keep the majority of the current personnel at Odessa College in place.

Odessa College has yet to make a statement about Jackson’s departure, but a coaching search is expected to begin in the coming days.