Jackson is new Raiders coach

GLENDALE — In leading the Oakland Raiders offense to a 2010 turnaround, Hue Jackson has earned the opportunity to lead the Oakland Raiders franchise in 2011 and beyond.

The former Glendale Community College quarterback has reportedly been tabbed as the new Raiders head coach, as he will take on the task of leading a franchise that has not had a winning season or made the playoffs since reaching the Super Bowl in 2002. It's a span that has seen five coaches come and go before Jackson was tabbed.

"The fire in Hue will set a flame that will burn for a long time in the hearts and minds of the Raider football team and the Raider Nation," Oakland Owner Al Davis said in a press release on Monday.

Oakland is set to announce Jackson as its new coach at a press conference scheduled for 1:15 p.m. today in the Bay Area.

Jackson, who was the Vaqueros' signal caller from 1983-84 and was an All-Western State Conference selection, replaces Tom Cable, whose option wasn't picked up by Oakland after the Raiders finished 8-8 and in third place in the American Football Conference's West Division behind the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.

Under Jackson, the Raiders showed signs of improvement. Jackson was brought in nearly a year ago to take over the play-calling duties from Cable and transition an offense that had slumped in recent seasons. Oakland scored more than twice as many points in 2010 than in 2009, leading to the Raiders avoiding their eighth losing season in a row.

Led by quarterback Jason Campbell, running back Darren McFadden and rookie wide receiver Jacoby Ford, the Raiders placed sixth in the league in scoring with 410 points.

"That's why I came to the Raiders, was to improve, but we didn't improve fast enough," Jackson told the Associated Press late in the season. "We expect to be challenging for the playoffs, challenging for our division year in and year out, and we're not getting that done, so, to me, that's a disappointment. There's either first place or there's last place, and there's no in between."

Jackson becomes the second former Vaquero football player to be elevated to the head coaching ranks. Andy Reid, who played at Glendale college from 1976-77, has been the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles since 1999 and led the Eagles to a division championship this season.

Former Glendale college football Coach John Cicuto said Jackson, who transferred from Glendale college to the University of the Pacific, showed the intangibles necessary to climb to the top.

"He was a super kid for us when he came here from Dorsey High" said Cicuto, who coached the program from 1989-2007 and is now the college's men's athletic director. "He's had a great coaching career and I knew he would be destined for good things because he had that great passion as a player here.

"He did a great job with the Raiders and he turned their offense around. In the last five weeks of the season, their offense was super productive. That's neat to have two of our former players now coaching in the NFL."

Jackson worked in Baltimore with quarterback Joe Flacco, who led the Ravens to the playoffs the past three seasons, before coming to the Raiders. Jackson was also the offensive coordinator at USC, where he tutored Carson Palmer, who is now the starting quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jackson also served as a running backs and receivers coach with Cincinnati from 2004-06, was the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins in 2003 and the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 and also coached running backs for the Redskins in 2001-02.

Jackson passed for 2,251 yards and 19 touchdowns in two seasons at Glendale college. He earned all-conference accolades after the Vaqueros went 6-4 in 1984. In 1984, Jackson passed for 1,733 yards.

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