LOS ANGELES (AP) John Jackson, who coached star tailbacks Marcus Allen and Charles White during their Heisman Trophy-winning seasons at Southern California, has died. He was 81.
The university said Friday that Jackson died of complications following intestinal surgery on Thursday in suburban Torrance.
Jackson was running backs coach from 1976-81 and also worked as offensive coordinator under coach John Robinson.
White won the Heisman in 1979 and finished as the NCAA’s second-leading career rusher with 6,245 yards. Allen won the award in 1981 when he became the first collegiate player to run for 2,000 yards in a season.
Jackson also coached All-American tailback Ricky Bell as well as Lynn Cain, who set the school fullback career rushing record, and future NFL fullback Mosi Tatupu. During Jackson’s tenure, the Trojans won the Rose Bowl three times and were the 1978 national champions.
After leaving USC, Jackson worked 17 years with California Sports Inc. as a special assistant to Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss. While there, he ran Forum Boxing and helped develop the Prime Ticket sports cable TV network, now Fox Sports West.
Jackson returned to the college ranks as UNLV’s running backs coach, run game coordinator and assistant coach, again working under Robinson from 1999-2004. He had other coaching stints at Hofstra, Dartmouth and Illinois.
He also owned and managed Culver City Ice Arena from 1982 until it closed in 2014.
Jackson served three years in the Marines, where he was a captain.
He is survived by former wife Lillian and children Tracie and John Jr., who played football and baseball at USC from 1986-90; brother Pazel; and four grandchildren.