Kaela Jackson Hired at Michigan State
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — Former Gamecock Softball volunteer assistant Kaela Jackson has accepted a job with Michigan State to join the Spartans‘ full-time staff as an assistant coach, MSU‘s Jacque Joseph announced today. Jackson has spent the past five years as a part of South Carolina‘s program, starting as a player, where she earned a spot on the 2012 CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 team as the designated player. She transitioned into a graduate manager role the next two years before taking over as the volunteer assistant for 2015. During her three years since exhausting her eligibility, Jackson worked with all aspects of the team, including helping with the batting instruction that has flourished under Smith‘s staff, with the squad setting new records in on-base and slugging percentages in each of the last four years. “Kaela Jackson and I arrived in Columbia at the same time 5 years ago,” said Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith, “as I had the pleasure of coaching her for two seasons. While pursuing her master‘s degree, Kaela stayed on as a graduate student manager. Because of her great work ethic, I hired her on staff in the volunteer position. I have watched her blossom and grow into a fantastic coach. Kaela is someone who took advantage of every opportunity afforded her by the University of South Carolina, and it has paid dividends. She is so deserving of this full-time opportunity at Michigan State. “Kaela grew up knowing she wanted to be a coach. In fact, for her 12th birthday all she wanted was to attend a coaching clinic in Nashville, featuring Jacquie Joseph. With her birthday present coming full circle, Kaela will get the chance to work next to Jacquie and learn from a seasoned head coach. I know KJ is in the hands of an excellent leader. I have the utmost respect for Jacquie professionally, as she has always run her program with great class and integrity. Coach Joseph is truly a pioneer for our sport and has done so much to grow the game of softball. “Gamecock Softball will miss KJ and what she brought daily to this staff and program. I am so proud of her and excited to watch her continue to develop in the Big Ten.” South Carolina has made the last three NCAA Tournaments under Smith, improving the team‘s win total in each of those years. Last year‘s team finished 38-22 and boasted of first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Alaynie Page, who returns alongside 16 other letter-winners back on the squad.