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Funeral Service to be Held For USC Runningback Coach John Jackson

A funeral service and celebration of life will be held Friday for John Jackson, the running backs coach for tailbacks Marcus Allen and Charles White during their Heisman Trophy-winning seasons at USC.

The funeral will be held at noon at the First AME Church of Los Angeles, 2270 S. Harvard Blvd. The celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. at USC Town & Gown.

Jackson died Feb. 16 in Torrance of complications following intestinal surgery, according to Tim Tessalone, USC’s sports information director. He was 81.

Jackson was the running backs coach from 1976-81 under coach John Robinson, and offensive coordinator, during which time the Trojans won the Rose Bowl Games three times and were selected as the 1978 national champions in the coaches poll conducted by United Press International.

White won the Heisman in 1979 and finished as the NCAA’s second-leading career rusher with 6,234 yards. Allen won in 1981, becoming the first major college player to run for 2,000 yards in a season.

Jackson also coached USC All-American Ricky Bell; Lynn Cain, who set the Trojan fullback career rushing record; and future NFL fullback Mosi Tatupu.

After leaving USC, Jackson worked for 17 years with California Sports as a special assistant to Jerry Buss, the late owner of the Lakers and Forum. While there, Jackson ran Forum Boxing and helped develop the Prime Ticket sports cable network.

Jackson returned to coaching in 1999 and spent six seasons as UNLV’s running backs coach, run game coordinator and assistant head coach, again working under Robinson.

Jackson, who was a captain in the Marine Corps, was also the owner and manager of the Culver City Ice Arena from 1982 until it closed in 2014.

His son John was an Academic All-American football wide receiver and baseball outfielder at USC (1986-90), who went on to play in the NFL with the Cardinals and Bears and is now the analyst on USC football radio broadcasts, in addition to his announcing duties with Fox Sports West.

Other survivors include daughter Tracie, who works at USC, and his children’s mother, Lillian, along with four grandchildren and his brother, Pazel.

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