Dannton Jackson, the winningest coach in Xavier men’s basketball history, has resigned to take a position as an assistant coach at Alabama-Birmingham, Jackson confirmed Friday.
Jackson, 46, is joining the staff of Rob Ehsan, who was promoted to head coach April 4. Jackson had a 290-130 record in 13 seasons at NAIA Xavier, including 21-13 this past season. He said the chance to join Ehsan at an up-and-coming NCAA Division I program was too hard to pass up.
“I had no intentions of leaving Xavier, but I think UAB is a very good situation,” said Jackson, who spent 27 years at Xavier as a student-athlete, assistant coach or head coach. “Rob is an unbelievable guy. (UAB) went 26-7 last year, and they have everybody returning. Those are the things that intrigue me, along with the challenges of the (D-I) level.”
The Blazers won the Conference USA regular-season championship after claiming the conference tournament title in 2015. Xavier lost to rival Dillard in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference tournament championship game.
Jackson said he and Ehsan participated in a roundtable discussion last year at UAB. Jackson, who is known for defense, said they have a similar philosophy.
“I think at this time of my life, it’s time for me to grow a little bit, and I prayed about it a lot,” Jackson said. “I thought this would be a great growing experience for me.”
Under Jackson, the Gold Rush made 10 NAIA tournament appearances, including the past six. Xavier lost 69-68 in overtime to Lewis and Clark in the first round of this year’s tournament.
UAB lost to BYU in the first round of the NIT. Head coach Jerod Haase then left for the same position at Stanford.