Kentucky State stays close to home with hirings for men’s and women’s basketball

Newly hired KSU men’s head coach Jamaal Jackson during his introductory news conference at the Exum Center in Frankfort on Friday afternoon.
Newly hired KSU men’s head coach Jamaal Jackson during his introductory news conference at the Exum Center in Frankfort on Friday afternoon. KSU Athletics

In front of a crowd filled with family and alumni Friday, Kentucky State University interim president Aaron Thompson introduced the two coaches who will look to guide the school’s basketball programs.

For the women’s team, Thompson announced the move of assistant coach Terrance Slater to the new head coach of the Thorobrettes. For the men’s team, the university stayed close to home again with the hiring of KSU graduate Jamaal Jackson.

Slater served under previous head coach Serena King-Coleman, who had been at KSU since the start of the 2010-11 season. With King-Coleman leaving for Fayetteville State University, Slater will be able to come right in and build on the Thorobrettes’ recent success.

Slater arrived at KSU with an already-impressive résumé. He was a standout player at Western Michigan University, and before coming to KSU served as director and coach of the Illinois MeanStreets AAU program in Chicago where he worked with the likes of Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis and Tyler Ulis.

The KSU women are coming off a 24-5 season and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.

“My goals are very simple: the team to achieve a team GPA of 3.0 or higher, to graduate all of my seniors, to also reconnect KSU with the in-state communities, and last but not least win the SIAC championship,” Slater said during the introductory news conference.

Unlike Slater, Jackson returns to KSU at a less-than-promising time. The Thorobreds are coming off an 11-15 season in which they lost their last five games, and Jackson will be the third coach in as many years for the program.

Overlooking all of that, Jackson started his opening statement by saying it was “great to be home,” and was overwhelmed with emotion throughout the news conference.

Jackson was an assistant at Kentucky State from 2004-08 and, before that, got his start as a student assistant coach during the 2000-01 season when the Thorobreds won the SIAC Tournament championship. He is coming from Bluefield State College in West Virginia, where he served as head coach from 2011-16 and improved win totals each year except for his last there.

Jackson plans to get the men’s team back on top in the SIAC by making recruiting locally a priority and playing a fast style centered around pressing and pushing the ball.

“I’m just very elated to be here; it’s home,” Jackson said. “I had nine great years here as a student and a coach. I just want to recruit students, so that they can graduate from here and feel the same way about Kentucky State University that I do.”

Anthony Crawford: 859-231-1627, @a_craw_