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Notre Dame’s Jeff Jackson: ‘The Island is a Little Close to My Heart’

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Jeff Jackson, New York Islanders

On Friday, we shared our interview with University of Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson regarding our chat about New York Islanders captain Anders Lee. 

Jeff Jackson’s collegiate coaching resume is one for the ages. He has 558 career wins, the most by any active NCAA head coach entering the 2022-23 season, and has two championships (1992, 1994) from his time at Lake Superior State.

Since taking over as the bench boss of Notre Dame in 2005, Jackson has led Notre Dame to eight Conference Championships, 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, and four Frozen Four appearances, with five NCAA finals appearances. 

Jackson is a two-time Spencer Penrose Award winner (2007, 2018), awarded to the nation’s coach of the year. 

But did you know Jackson has a history with Long Island?

 “The island is a little close to my heart. You know, I lived in Seaford and drove to Nassau Coliseum every day for a couple of years,” Jackson said. “So knowing that Anders [Lee] and Kyle [Palmieri]  are both there, you know, I’m proud of that,”

Anders Lee played at the University of Notre Dame from 2010-2013, while Kyle Palmieri played just one season in South Bend, the 2009-10 season.

Jeff Jackson, a Michigan State graduate, served as an assistant coach on Steve Stirling’s Islanders staff from 2003-05. In 2003-04, the Islanders finished third in the NHL’s Atlantic Division with a 38-29-11-4 record (91 points). 

The Islanders were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the conference quarter-finals in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

“Like for any level I’ve coached, some of the players that I’ve coached, I actually continued relationships with some of them,” Jackson said.  “I don’t see them all the time, but I still have conversations with Michael Peca, who was our captain back then. I still see Adrian McLean because he’s up in Chicago.”

Jackson has continued to have relationships with other former Islanders, including Eric Karns, Ricky DiPietro, Shawn Bates, and Mark Parrish.

Jackson also has a relationship with current New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, due to their time spent together at the Olympics in 1998.

“I think that, you know, Lou Lamoriello is a bright guy. I mean, he was the GM of the [United States] Olympic team when I was an assistant coach there. So I used to sit up with Lou in the stands during the ‘98 Olympics. And, you know, I know that he’ll get them back on track.”

Jackson also gave his take on what transpired with the New York Islanders last season.

“I think that last year was a tough year for them starting off on the road for that first couple of months. I mean, how you start the season has a big impact on your attitude, your culture, everything,” Jackson said.

As far as this upcoming season, Jackson seemed confident that the Islanders are on the right track. 

“Every year is different in all, but they’re only one year removed…So I’m sure that they’ll rebound this year. To what degree it’s always hard to predict,” Jackson said.

Notre Dame is scheduled to open up their 2022-2023 season against the United States National Development Team Program in South Bend, Indiana on October 2nd as Jeff Jackson is getting ready to kick off his 18th season as Notre Dame’s head coach.

Editor-in-Chief Stefen Rosner contributed to this article

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