Jackson’s journey from scout team to assistant coach

Six years ago, Myles Jackson was a scout team player at Towson. Now he is providing energy from the bench and helping Temple Women’s Basketball find success.

Temple Women's Basketball assistant coach Myles Jackson has moved his way up the ranks on Diane Richardson's coaching staff, and has brought energy to the Owls' bench all season. | OMARI COKER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

In early 2018, Myles Jackson was playing for Towson Women’s Basketball’s scout team and working as a manager three months before graduating from the university. With graduation on the horizon, he wasn’t sure what the future held beyond his time as a Tiger.

Diane Richardson, Towson’s head coach at the time, took Jackson under her wing, and he worked in whatever capacity she needed. 

Jackson jokingly asked Richardson for a job on her staff one day, but Richardson took him seriously. Two weeks later, she created a new spot on her team: assistant director of basketball operations.

“Coach Rich has given me all the freedom and rope to learn and grow from the game,” Jackson said. “She has sent me to clinics and seminars all over the country, and I have been a sponge trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible.”

Jackson has quickly climbed Richardson’s coaching ranks. After a year as assistant director, he was promoted to director of basketball operations and then assistant coach two years later. Jackson followed suit when Richardson took the Temple job in April 2022 and now works side by side with Richardson in a pivotal role on North Broad Street. 

The aspiring coach worked primarily as a manager during his first three years at Towson, but made a serious push for a promotion his senior year when the team headed to Las Vegas for the Holiday Hoops Classic. Jackson had recently turned 21 years old and desperately wanted to join the team in Vegas to celebrate, so he went to Richardson and asked what he had to do in order to make the trip.

Richardson told him to show up everyday and help both on and off the court. Jackson picked up more tasks and assignments in the ensuing weeks leading up to the trip. While he initially only wanted the Vegas trip, Jackson discovered a new passion: coaching.

“As I started to pick up those extra responsibilities, I fell in love with basketball from a different point of view,” Jackson said. “I loved basketball since I was three years old and seeing it from a different side, I realized that I could do this.”

Jackson has been dubbed Temple’s “offensive coordinator” due to his ability to develop plays and identify opportunities for his players. He has worked closely with all-conference guard Aleah Nelson, who has been around Jackson since their days at Towson.

“He just always gives me confidence,” Nelson said. “He never tells me to shoot the ball — he says score the ball. When he talks to me like that, it shows how much confidence he has in me to be the player I need to be.”

Jackson also provides energy from the sidelines that isn’t typically seen from assistant coaches. Fans attending a women’s basketball game can often see, and probably hear, Jackson from his spot on the bench.

Whether it’s barking play calls, screaming at players from the sideline or being the main hype man after important plays, Jackson constantly brings life that the team needs. 

“It’s just my passion for the game,” Jackson said. “I’m a competitor myself. I hate to lose more than I love to win, and I want the girls to win, Coach Rich to win and Temple to win.”

Richardson always recognized Jackson as a young and hungry basketball mind. She’s seen how much he has learned in the six years she’s mentored him and knows his importance to her staff makes him an asset she can’t afford to lose.

“I am really proud of him, and I love having him with me,” Richardson said. “I knew he needed a path to get into coaching, and I was lucky enough to be able to fight for him.”

Jackson has immense respect for Richardson and everything she has done for him during his coaching career, and the two have developed a special bond since Richardson began mentoring Jackson. 

Jackson packed up his apartment and followed Richardson without a second thought when she left Towson for the Temple job. He feels there hasn’t been anyone more important to his journey than Richardson, and he wants to make sure he continues to prove her right for taking a chance on him.

“I look at her as a second mom,” Jackson said. “I work extremely hard for her because I do not want to disappoint Coach Rich. She took a chance on a 21-year-old kid graduating college when she didn’t have to. I am forever grateful for her, and whatever she needs me to do, I do it.”

Jackson is just 27 years old and has a chance to continue climbing the coaching ladder in years to come. He could certainly become a head coach someday, but he is living in the present and hoping to be recognized as one of the best young assistants while watching his players find success. 

Every year, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association puts out a list of the 30 best assistant coaches under 30 years old. Fellow assistant coach Cheyenne Curley earned a spot on the list in 2021 and now Jackson is hoping to follow suit.

“Right now, I am striving for the 30-under-30 list,” Jackson said. “Obviously, I would love to be a head coach someday, but as I work my way up, things will come.”

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