"Big Dance" Interviews: Alabama State head coach Lewis Jackson

March 15th, 2011
Recently CHN writer Jon Teitel caught up with Alabama State head coach Lewis Jackson, whose Hornets take on Texas-San Antonio in a "First Four" matchup on Wednesday night with the winner getting East top seed Ohio State on Friday in Cleveland. In addition to his accomplishments as head coach, Jackson is one of the greatest players in the history of Alabama State basketball.

Jon Teitel: You are the fourth all-time leading scorer in Alabama State history with 2,203 points and your #33 is retired. How good a player were you back in the day, and how has being so good on the court made you so good on the sideline?

Lewis Jackson: I like to think that I was a good all-around player. I was a junior when we moved up to Division I. I also worked hard on defense, which is an issue I push along to my current players.

JT: You were inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 1999. What did it mean to you to receive such an outstanding honor, and what does it mean to you to represent the SWAC in the NCAA Tournament?

LJ: It was a great honor for the SWAC to think that much of me. It is very rewarding and very exciting to represent the SWAC, and we will go out and play as best we can.

JT: Your wife Freda is the Alabama State women's basketball head coach. What is the best part of having a wife who coaches the same sport at the same school as you, and what is the...not-best part?

LJ: The best part is having someone who can give you a fair assessment of what you are doing, as we usually get to watch each other's teams play right before or after our own games. She continues to coach once she gets home...but that is good as well!

JT: Your two leading scorers are Tramayne Moorer (2011 SWAC Tournament MVP) and Tramaine Butler. Is it a logistical nightmare when you try to shout out instructions to two guys with the same name?

LJ: Pretty much everyone on the team has a nickname. Moorer is "Scoop" and Butler is "Butter", and it has worked out pretty well for us.

JT: You have a play-in game on Wednesday in the "First Four" against UTSA. How big of an advantage is it to get the extra day to prepare (rather than having to play on Tuesday), and what the heck are you going to do if you win and have to play #1-seed Ohio State on 2 days notice?!

LJ: In the 2009 NCAA Tournament we were in the play-in game on Tuesday night, which was very hectic for us because we had to fly out there at 5AM on Monday after winning our conference tourney earlier that weekend. The extra day has worked out well for us so far. It would take a couple of weeks to prepare for the Buckeyes, but if we face them then we will just try our best.