Funeral services were pending Friday for John Jackson, the running backs coach for tailbacks Marcus Allen and Charles White during their Heisman Trophy-winning seasons at USC.
Jackson died Thursday in Torrance of complications following intestinal surgery, according to Tim Tessalone, USC’s sports information director. He was 81.
Jackson was the running backs coach for six seasons (1976-81) under head coach John Robinson, and also served as the offensive coordinator, during which time the Trojans won the Rose Bowl three times and were the 1978 national champions.
White won the Heisman in 1979 and finished as the NCAA’s second-leading career rusher with 6,234 yards. Allen won in 1981, becoming the first collegiate player to run for 2,000 yards in a season.
Jackson also coached USC All-American Ricky Bell; Lynn Cain, who set the Trojan fullback career rushing record; and future NFL fullback Mosi Tatupu.
After leaving USC, Jackson worked for 17 years with California Sports as a special assistant to Jerry Buss, the late owner of the Lakers. While there, Jackson ran Forum Boxing and helped develop the Prime Ticket sports cable network.
He returned to coaching in 1999 and spent six seasons as UNLV’s running backs coach, run game coordinator and assistant head coach, again working under Robinson.
Jackson, who was a captain in the Marine Corps, was also the owner and manager of the Culver City Ice Arena from 1982 until it closed in 2014.
His son John was an Academic All-American football wide receiver and baseball outfielder at USC (1986-90), who went on to play in the NFL with the Cardinals and Bears and is now the analyst on USC football radio broadcasts, in addition to his announcing duties with FOX Sports West.
Other survivors include daughter Tracie, who currently is employed at USC, and his children’s mother, Lillian, along with four grandchildren and his brother, Pazel.
— City News Service