Nov. 22, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — When University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz reached out to Andre Jackson about becoming an honorary captain, Jackson accepted and had a specific date in mind.
Jackson, a linebacker for the Hawkeyes from 1972-75, wanted to return to Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 23 — when his alma mater played the Michigan Wolverines.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from the UI, Jackson attended law school at the University of Michigan.
“While I was (at Michigan) I didn’t let anyone get any misconceptions who I stood for,” Jackson said Friday after addressing the Hawkeye players and staff in the indoor practice facility. “Now I have an opportunity — this game is on TV, here I am.”
“While I was (at Michigan) I didn’t let anyone get any misconceptions who I stood for. Now I have an opportunity — this game is on TV, here I am.”
Jackson will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game and on the sidelines during the contest.
Victories were hard to come by for the Hawkeyes when Jackson played linebacker here, but this is where he learned valuable lessons.
“So many things how I live my life now are based off things I learned here,” he said. “They’re just like reflexes. The friendships we made here are life-long. We became men together.”
Jackson, who works as an attorney and has substantial investment interests in the Chicago area, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.
“The support I got from all over the country was phenomenal,” Jackson said.
One of the people who checked in most frequently with Jackson was Frank Lauterbur, one of his former coaches at the UI. Lauterbur passed away Wednesday.
Now healthy, Jackson says he is “living the dream,” and by being named honorary captain, it confirms the fact he is not “just another guy.”
Jackson, a native of Dixmoor, Ill., joined the Iowa program as a walk-on and led the team with 171 tackles as a freshman in 1972. That single-season record still stands. With 465 career tackles, Jackson is second in school history to Larry Station with 492.
Many members of Jackson’s immediate family were unable to come to Iowa City with him this weekend because his 9-year-old daughter has a figure skating competition in Kalamazoo, Mich.
“Maybe one day you will see her on a Wheaties box,” Jackson said.