In a historic move, Missouri has hired Kerrick Jackson as its new head baseball coach, the school announced Saturday. Jackson becomes the first Black head coach in SEC baseball history.

“We set out to find a leader of high character with success rejuvenating a program, and we certainly found that in Kerrick Jackson,” Missouri athletic director Desireé Reed-Francois wrote in a statement. “He’s a tireless recruiter, fierce competitor and a coach with deep roots in the Midwest. Coach Jackson knows what success looks like in college baseball, specifically at Mizzou. He has a vision for success and a tremendous amount of experience at all levels of baseball. I look forward to him building on our traditions and returning us to the national stage.”

Jackson was the head coach at Memphis this past season and previously held the same position at Southern. He was an assistant at Missouri from 2011 to ’15 under former head coach Tim Jamieson. At his introductory press conference Monday, Jackson acknowledged the historical weight of the moment, describing it as “special.”

“Again you’re talking about, unfortunately we’re in 2023 talking about breaking glass ceilings when it comes to those types of things,” Jackson said, per Matt Stahl of the Columbia Daily Tribune. “Hopefully, as I stated last year, hopefully we get ourselves in a position where that’s not such a big deal, but what I do understand is I understand the magnitude of it, specifically in the landscape that we’re in when we talk about the lack of Black players in the game at the major league levels and at the youth levels.”

Jackson guided Memphis to a 29-28 record in his lone season with the school and previously led Southern to the NCAA regionals in 2019. He replaces Steve Bieser, who spent seven seasons with Missouri with no NCAA tournament appearances.