Jesse Jackson coming to CMU; Butch Jones named football coach

Just days before I return to CMU for my fourth semester (already!!), I came across two big news items on the school's web site.

First, the legendary Jesse Jackson will be coming to CMU as part of the school’s Martin Luther King Week festivities.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a leading national civil rights and political figure, will visit Central Michigan University Jan. 16 as part of its weeklong commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jackson, president and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, will provide a keynote speech at 7 p.m. in Rose Arena. Admission is free and open to the public.

Jackson began his activism as a student leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and eventually became King's assistant. Jackson went on to direct Operation Breadbasket and founded People United to Save Humanity in 1971.

He was an early advocate of national health care, a war on drugs and the campaign to end apartheid in South Africa. In 1984 and 1988, he ran as a Democrat for the presidency, winning 10 million votes combined, and is credited for inspiring millions of new voters to register and join the political process. He often has served as an international diplomat, sometimes negotiating the release of U.S. military personnel held captive overseas.

And as for the school’s new football coach: Say hello to Butch Jones.

"I am excited to have Butch Jones leading our football program," Heeke said. "We are fortunate to have someone here from an outstanding program like West Virginia and his experience with one of the most successful spread offenses in the country will help further develop our offense.

"Butch has all the skills to be a highly successful head coach," Heeke added. "As we went through the entire interview process, it continued to become more and more clear that Butch Jones was the right man for this job. He will provide the leadership necessary to help take our program to the next level-winning consistently and competing for championships on an annual basis."

Jones has spent a total of 11 seasons as an assistant at the Division I-A level. He has served as the offensive coordinator at three different schools, spanning eight seasons, and has worked directly with 24 all-conference selections in 15 years as a full-time position coach.


A native of Michigan and a former offensive coordinator at CMU, Jones returns to Mount Pleasant after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons as an assistant coach at West Virginia University. The Mountaineers, ranked 13th in the most recent Associated Press Top 25, rallied for a 38-35 victory over Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day. West Virginia, employing a spread offensive attack, ranks second in Division I-A in rushing offense (302.3 ypg), tied for third in scoring offense (38.9 ppg) and fifth in total offense (463.0 ypg).

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