Eric Jackson: IWU Cross Country, Student to Faculty
By: Emily Lehner
Eric Jackson did not consider Indiana Wesleyan the school for him when he came to visit in 1993. He said, “My dad drove me down to IWU, but I didn’t really want to go here. He was the baseball coach for my high school, and his assistant was my youth pastor.”
In April of 1993, Jackson and his dad made a visit to campus. He was pleasantly surprised to see green grass and flowers blooming, which is contrary to the fact that it was still very much winter in his hometown in Michigan.
Though Jackson never met Coach John Foss during his visit, he met a few other key people. He met Tim Steenbergh, who was a senior on the cross country team, who now teaches Psychology at IWU. He also met other members of the cross country team, and Jackson said they seemed to be a quality group of guys, which elevated his thoughts about attending IWU that fall.
When Jackson arrived to move into IWU, he finally met Coach Foss. He says he remembers Foss’ big orange hair and glasses, thinking, “There is no way that is my coach!” However, cross country ended up being the highlight of his college career, and many of his memories root from being with the team. Jackson said, “I loved my team and I loved Foss. The program was just great.”
During his senior year, Jackson’s dad suddenly passed away. “Foss would be the major component of my spiritual growth during my time on campus.” Jackson said. “I got to watch Foss live out a Christian life and really speak that wisdom into my life.”
Upon graduation, Jackson applied for a position in Admissions at IWU and received the job. He worked in Admissions and began coaching the IWU Cross Country and Track teams alongside his former coach, John Foss.
Jackson believes that God has been continuously teaching him to trust the will God has for his life. “He has been teaching me to let go of control and that His plans for my life are better than what I can come up with myself,” Jackson said. This has been a prevalent message through Jackson’s college career and life.
Currently, Jackson works as the event coordinator for IWU Cross Country and Track. Not only does he lead the meets for IWU, but for schools around the nation. He focuses on details, making every meet run with excellence and glorifying to God within his work. Without Jackson and his constant desire to do things to the best of his ability, the Indiana Wesleyan athletic department would not be the same.
Written by Emily Lehner, writer for the Alumni Center and a sophomore Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.