Greg Jackson enters into his second season as the Dallas Cowboys safeties coach after his previous coaching venture as the secondary coach at the University of Michigan. Jackson boasts 14 years of coaching experience, including five in the NFL, and 17 years of overall NFL experience, including 12 as a player.
The safeties were a strength of the defense in 2016. Under Jackson’s tutelage, strong safety Barry Church finished second on the team with 109 tackles - his fourth consecutive season with 100-plus tackles - and also led the defense with two interceptions. At free safety, Byron Jones logged a career-best 102 tackles - good for fourth on the squad - and tied for the team lead with 10 pass breakups and his first career interception. Collectively, five of the nine interceptions collected on defense were attributed to a safety.
In one season at Michigan (2015), Jackson had a secondary that led the Big Ten in passing defense (158.5), pass efficiency (94.6) and third downs allowed (27.6) while the defense as a whole shutout opponents in three consecutive games - the first FBS school to accomplish the feat since Kansas State in 1995.
Before accompanying Jim Harbaugh to Michigan, Jackson served on Harbaugh’s staff with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-14) as the assistant secondary coach. Over that span, the 49ers were second in points-per-game allowed (17.4), tied for second in interceptions (78) and third in total defense (310.2 yards- per-game) and pass breakups (350). In that same four- year span, members of Jackson’s secondary earned two All-Pro honors and five Pro Bowl selections, while Eric Reid became the first 49ers rookie safety to make the Pro Bowl when he was selected in 2013.
Jackson spent one year as the nickel/assistant line- backers coach with the University of Wisconsin, helping the school rank seventh with an 11-2 record in 2010.
Before his time in Madison, Jackson coached at Tulane for three seasons. He was the university’s defensive backs coach in 2007 then coached safeties in 2008 and linebackers in 2009. He also oversaw the kicking team through his final two seasons.
From 2004-06, Jackson coached defensive backs at Louisiana-Monroe after beginning his coaching career in 2003, leading defensive backs at Idaho.
Jackson played safety in the NFL for 12 seasons after being selected in the third round (78th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft by the N.Y. Giants. He spent five seasons with the Giants before playing for the Philadelphia Eagles (1994-95), New Orleans Saints (1996) and San Diego Chargers (1997-00). Through 12 pro seasons, Jackson started 129 of the 168 games he played and picked off 32 passes while amassing over 700 career tackles.
Jackson’s collegiate career at LSU was polished off with a first-team All-America selection in 1988 which included an NCAA-high seven interceptions and an SEC championship as a senior. In four years, he helped lead the Tigers to a 36-10-2 record, including his first conference championship in 1986. Jackson also played in a bowl game in each of his four years (1985-88).
Jackson is a native of Miami, Fla. and earned his bachelor’s degree in communications broadcasting from Fairleigh Dickinson in 2004. He and his wife, Dina, have two children, Greg Jr., and Jayden, while his oldest son, Jamal, played football at Appalachian State (2009-13).