Lutz finalizes staff with assistant coaches Jackson and Cross

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Hilltopper Basketball head coach Steve Lutz finalized his coaching staff on Tuesday, announcing the hiring of Darryl Jackson and Martin Cross as assistant coaches.

Jackson comes to The Hill from Weatherford College and will oversee the program’s academics and player development, in addition to his coaching duties.

“I am very excited to welcome Darryl to The Hill,” Lutz said. “He is someone who possesses a high level of character and has a passion for mentoring young men; in life, basketball and academically. His ability to connect with student-athletes, professors, staff and alumni will be a tremendous asset to WKU and our program.”

“I am so thankful for the warm welcome from everyone here at Western Kentucky University and excited for the opportunity Coach Lutz has given me to coach and develop these players,” Jackson said. “We have a group of very talented individuals that I know will achieve great things this season; both on the court and in the classroom. I am eager to get started with them and cannot wait to see them grow into accomplished young men. Go Tops!”

Before heading to The Hill, Jackson was an assistant coach at Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas for the 2022-23 season. The Coyotes went 23-8, totaling the program’s most wins in 15 years.

Weatherford had two all-conference and all-region honorees with an additional two honorees on both the second team and honorable mention lists.

Prior to Weatherford, Jackson spent a season at Garden City Community College in Kansas where he aided the program to a 22-10 record during the 2021-22 season. He also coached and developed Mohamed Diarra, an NJCAA All-American.

Jackson spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Detroit Mercy in addition to a season as an assistant coach at Navarro College and with the NBL Canada team Windsor Express.

Jackson is a native of Detroit, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Valparaiso and an MBA from Detroit Mercy.

Cross, a 2015 graduate, enters his ninth season on the WKU staff and second as an assistant coach.

“Martin bleeds WKU Red and has been a tremendous asset to me and our program from the day that I arrived,” Lutz said. “He is a great person and tireless worker who has a very bright future in the coaching profession. I couldn’t be more excited to have him as part of my staff.”

“WKU and the people that embody it are incredibly special to me and I am grateful to be a part of Coach Lutz’s staff on The Hill,” Cross said. “Our program continues to work tirelessly and I have the utmost confidence that special days are ahead under Coach Lutz. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with our players and staff to build upon the storied tradition of this program.”

Over his years on The Hill, Cross has been instrumental in the collegiate basketball careers of in-state Hilltoppers such as Taveion Hollingsworth, Carson Williams, and Dayvion McKnight amongst others. Cross has been involved with five Kentucky Mr. Basketballs in his time on staff with WKU which includes Hollingsworth, Williams, McKnight, Camron Justice and Dontaie Allen.

In the 2021-22 season, Cross was able to have an increased role on staff with new scouting and recruiting responsibilities. He assisted the rest of the coaching staff on the court in major Power Five wins over Ole Miss and Louisville in the non-conference schedule. The team posted a 19-13 record and won nine of their last 10 in league action.

Cross was crucial in the player development of guard Dayvion McKnight. McKnight jumped from averaging 5.8 points and 3.8 assists per game in his freshman season of 2020-21 to averaging 16.2 points and 5.5 assists per game in his sophomore season. He went on to be named Conference USA First Team at the end of the year.

Cross served as the Hilltoppers’ Associate Director of Basketball Operations for six seasons before his current role. He assisted with opponent scouting, on-campus recruiting, coordinated the team’s travel, and assisted with day-to-day operations of the program. He also served as director of summer camps and oversaw the Hilltopper student-managers.

Cross spent the 2015-16 season as WKU’s Video Coordinator after four years as a student-manager with the Hilltoppers, during which one of his main responsibilities were opponent and self-scouting.

Cross helped facilitate the Hilltoppers during the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Tournaments as a manager.

Cross earned his bachelor’s degree from WKU in 2015. The Albany, Ky., native graduated from Russell County High School in 2011.

He and his wife Alexa reside in Bowling Green.