SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
If offensive lineman never get the glory, heaven help the offensive lineman who also runs track.
Calvin Jackson will be best remembered as one of the top linemen in Bethune-Cookman football history – remember, Larry Little also played defense during his playing days before the NFL – as Jackson opened holes for two of the greatest running backs in program history – Willie Jackson and the late Randy “Sweetback” Walker, both of whom are enshrined in the Bethune-Cookman Athletic Hall of Fame.
So, of course, how was Jackson recently honored by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA)? By being enshrined in its Hall of Fame …. for track.
After graduating from Bethune-Cookman with a bachelor’s degree in education, Jackson embarked on a long and legendary career as head track coach at famed Miami Northwestern, where he guided the boys team to a 1991 state 4A championship. His storied run ended in 2007 one point shy of Flagler Palm Coast in his final state appearance.
During his tenure, 60 Northwestern athletes won state championships, and the team took 18 district and four regional titles.
“I’ve always loved track,” Jackson said. “To be able to remain involved in the sport as long as I did was truly a blessing. I was fortunate to always have great athletes and great support.
It’s been a family affair – his wife, Carmen, “converted” from Miami Jackson High School to Northwestern and has three titles of her own.
At Bethune-Cookman, Jackson plowed and anchored a dominate offensive line that helped produced one of the greatest Wildcat football victories – the 1972 win at Florida A&M that ended 19 years of Wildcat frustration against the archrival Rattlers.
Later that year, Jackson had his moment in the track spotlight – he swept the discus and the shot put at the 1975 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship meet in Atlanta.
“Proud of that one,” Jackson smiled.
His days at Bethune-Cookman played a major influence in his coaching career.
“Bethune-Cookman taught us about service, going the extra mile, grinding it out and being there for one another, “Jackson said. “Jesus said it best ‘If you serve the least, you’re serving Me.’”
Jackson’s contribution to Wildcat track continues this day – three former Northwestern student-athletes are on the track roster.
This story is courtesy of B-CU Athletics.