Michael Jackson enters his 18th season as the
head coach of the University of New Hampshire women’s soccer
program. A 1977 graduate of the University of Maine-Presque Isle,
Jackson was named the America East Coach of the Year in 2002 and
1998, and led a staff that garnered America East Coaching Staff of
the Year honors in 2007.
In 17 years, Jackson has compiled a 126-170-31 overall record, including a 43-30-9 record in conference play for a .580 winning percentage, coached five of the program’s top seven leading point scorers and the only All-America First Team selection – goalkeeper Maja Hansen – in UNH history. He has also had 14 America East All-Conference First Team honorees, as well as three players named to the North Atlantic Conference All-Conference First Team, a Goalkeeper of the Year award winner (Kristen Ouellette, 2002), three Striker of the Year recipients (Chiara Best, 2004 and Michelle Sheehan, 2007 and 2008) and a Midfielder of the Year honoree (Caitlin Whelan, 2007).
Jackson, who has made 14 tournament appearances with the ‘Cats, led UNH to the title game in 1998 and 2007, as well as semifinal appearances in 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He also led the ‘Cats to America East tournament appearances in 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
In 2011, the Wildcats finished the season 5-12-2 overall and 3-4-1 in conference play, leading them to their 11th consecutive America East Championship tournament appearance. The Wildcats unfortunately bowed out in the first round, ultimately ending their season.
In 2010, Jackson and the Wildcats qualified for the tournament for the 10th straight season. The ‘Cats were unable to advance in a first-round loss, ending their tournament run.
Jackson put together what may have been his most impressive year while at the helm for the Wildcats in 2007. He led his team to an 11-7-2 record, good for a .632 winning percentage. While the 11 victories tied the second highest win total in a single season, which he had already done twice (1998, 2004), the winning percentage was Jackson’s highest during his career in Durham. His 6-1-1 record in the conference garnered a share of the Wildcats’ second ever America East regular season title, which also gave them their first America East tournament No. 1 seed in program history. For the sixth consecutive year, the Wildcats made it as far as the semifinal round. Jackson surpassed that, however, guiding the ‘Cats to the championship game for the second time in school history – the first time as a No. 1 seed and host of the title game.
UNH advanced to the semifinals of the America East Championships in 2006 and finished 6-11-1 overall with seven shutouts. Two years prior, Jackson led the Wildcats (11-8-2 overall) to their first America East regular-season title as UNH shared the crown with a 6-3-0 conference record. In 2002, Jackson guided UNH to a second-place finish in the conference with a 5-2-1 record. The Wildcats reached double digits in wins (10-7-1 overall) and tied the school record for shutouts by blanking the opposition nine times. Jackson was honored as the conference’s Coach of the Year in 1998 after leading the ‘Cats to a third seed in the league tournament with a 7-2-0 America East record. UNH advanced to the conference championship game and finished that season with an 11-9-0 mark.
Before assuming the head coaching position at UNH, Jackson served as an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut from 1990-94. During his tenure with the Huskies, UConn qualified for the NCAA tournament five consecutive seasons. In his last season at UConn, the team advanced to the NCAA semifinals. They advanced to the championship game in 1990 and made quarterfinal appearances in 1991 and 1993. The Huskies produced seven NCAA Division I All-America selections, 14 All-New England and 12 All-Regional players, as well as one Academic All-American in Jackson’s five years of service.
Prior to joining the UConn coaching staff, Jackson served as the girls varsity soccer coach, as well as special education teacher at East Hampton (Conn.) High School from 1986-89. He helped produce the school’s first-ever All-State player during his rookie season. In his second year at the helm, the team qualified for its first-ever tournament and produced another All-State selection.
Jackson began his coaching career with the boys’ soccer program at Waterford (Conn.) High School (1981-85). He directed the team to the state tournament four times, including three conference championships. In 1982, his team advanced to the state final and generated the school’s first-ever All-America selection.
Jackson has also been involved in the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association’s Olympic Development Program, as well as with the Under-15 through Under-19 State teams. He has also been involved in various soccer camps throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. In addition to his coaching background, Jackson also possesses several years of playing experience. He was a member of the varsity soccer program at the University of Maine-Presque Isle and played for the Waterford Soccer Club, an amateur men’s team.
Jackson received his Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science from Maine-Presque Isle in 1977 and attained his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Connecticut in 1986. As a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association, Jackson holds an Advanced National Diploma. He also earned a ‘B’ coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation. Jackson is a native of New London, Conn., and resides in Lee (N.H.) with his wife Cate.