Eden Prairie took a huge step Wednesday toward becoming a force in Minnesota high school wrestling by hiring former Apple Valley head coach Jim Jackson as an associate head coach.
Jackson, who won 618 matches and 14 state team championships in his 25 years at Apple Valley, joins current coach Scot Davis, who was hired to take over the Eden Prairie program last year. The combination of Davis, the nation's winningest high school wrestling coach with 1,015 career victories, and Jackson creates a formidale coaching team. Between them they have 1,634 victories and 16 state titles.
"I've known him for a long time," Davis said. "We were huge competitors when I was at Owatonna, but I've always had great respect for him. It's going to be fun having two guys who have been wrestling coaches for a long time working together like this. We both have that 24-7 love affair with wrestling."
Jackson retired from coaching after the 2012 season, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and watch his daughter Taylor play tennis for Prior Lake. But it didn't take long for Jackson to look for a chance to get back into coaching.
"At the state [wrestling] tournament this year, Taylor was cheering for her three favorite Apple Valley wrestlers," Jackson said in a news release. "At one point she turned to me and said, 'Dad, you should go back into coaching.' Taylor knew that working with kids and wrestling has always been my life's passion."
While the responsibilities of each have yet to be defined, Davis said he and Jackson have already come up with ideas on to help build Eden Prairie into a wrestling power. The Eagles won the Lake Conference championship this past season.
"It will be more of a teamwork thing, but we have already thrown out a lot of ideas about summer programs and things like that," Davis said. "We're not going into this blind. We know it's going to take a few years to build the program, but we've had great support from the school and from [athletic director] Mike Grant. I've never had that kind of support before."
NSIC picks commissioner
Erin Lind, the associate commissioner of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conferenence since 2005, will be promoted to commissioner starting July 1.
She will replace Butch Raymond, who is retiring.
"My vision for the NSIC is to stand as the model for Division II conferences, achieving a high level of academic and athletic success," Lind said.
• Sophomore first baseman Connor Robley of Rochester Community and Technical College was named the National Junior College Athletic Association baseball player of the week in Division III. … Sophomore center fielder Donielle Kurvers of St. Cloud Community and Technical College received the same honor in softball.
• The Gophers baseball game with Bethel on Wednesday at Siebert Field was canceled because of inclement weather. They will play a three-game series at Florida State starting Friday. The Gators are 33-11 and rated No. 6 this week by College Baseball Central.