Kevin Andre Jackson (born November 25, 1964 in Highland Falls, New York) is an American Olympic gold medalist wrestler and former professional mixed martial arts competitor. After retiring from active competition he became the head wrestling coach at Iowa State University, having been hired in 2009 after Cael Sanderson moved to Penn State University. Before joining Iowa State, Jackson was a four-time All-American, first for Louisiana State University and then for Iowa State, where he was the NCAA runner-up in 1987. He stepped down from his position in 2017.
As a wrestler, he was an Olympic gold medalist freestyle wrestler, and a former mixed martial arts fighter. He won a gold medal in Freestyle wrestling at the 1992 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competition, in 2001, Jackson became the U.S. national freestyle coach, based at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs.
The native of Lansing, Mich., won two state high school championships for Eastern High School before becoming a Junior National Greco-Roman wrestling champion.
As a college wrestler, he attended LSU and earned All-America honors three times before the school dropped the sport. He transferred to Iowa State for his senior year and captained the Cyclones’ last NCAA championship team (1987), earning another All-America award with an NCAA runner-up finish and registering a 30-3-1 record.
In 1992 he won a gold medal in wrestling and was invited to join "Team Foxcatcher", but was let go the next year when John du Pont started getting paranoid delusions and did not want anything black in his estate, from cars to horses to people. Soon after, Jackson won two Pan American Games titles and was a member of World Championship teams for the United States in both 1993 and 1995. He won three U.S. National Titles and placed second five times. Jackson also became the first American to win the prestigious Takhti Cup (1998) in Tehran, Iran. During his post-collegiate competitive career, Jackson also assisted with the Cyclone Wrestling Club (1989–92) and volunteered with the Arizona State (1997) program.
Jackson participated in mixed martial arts in 1997, when he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship to become only the 2nd Olympic Gold medalist wrestler to step in the octagon, eventually winning the UFC 14 Middleweight tournament. He fought Frank Shamrock for the Middleweight title at UFC Japan, but lost by armbar. He retired from MMA competition in 1998 after six fights.
Jackson's success earned him a number of major awards, including the 1995 John Smith Award as National Freestyle Wrestler of the Year, 1992 Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year and 1991 USA Wrestling and USOC Wrestler of the Year. Jackson is a member of the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame, the United States National Wrestling Hall of Fame (as a distinguished member) and the Iowa State University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jackson has worked extensively as a wrestling coach. He was head coach of the Sunkist youth development program, National Freestyle coach for USA Wrestling for eight years (2001–08) and the freestyle wrestling coach for two United States' teams at the Olympics. Jackson was the freestyle coach at the Olympic Training Center and head coach for the U.S. Army team at Fort Carson (1998–2001).
Kevin back to OTC as a usa national team head development coach June/2017Ultimate Fighting Championship
UFC 14 Middleweight tournament winner
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Fight of the Year (1998) vs. Jerry Bohlander on March 13