Several sources have reported that the University of Kentucky football team has hired Shannon Dawson to fill the vacancy at offensive coordinator left by the nomadic Neal Brown. Dawson is in his 12th year of coaching and most recently was the offensive coordinator at West Virginia. Notably, his coaching career includes a stint as an offensive assistant at Southeastern Louisiana to former UK head coach Hal Mumme.
The Clinton, Louisiana native has also served as offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin and Millsaps. Dawson has coached in two bowl games, both with West Virginia, in 2011 and 2012.
Dawson’s Coaching Career
2013: West Virginia (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2012: West Virginia (offensive coordinator/receivers)
2011: West Virginia (inside receivers)
2008-10: Stephen F. Austin (offensive coordinator)
2006-07: Millsaps (offensive coordinator)
2005: New Mexico State (graduate assistant/offense)
2004: Southeastern Louisiana (running backs)
2003: Southeastern Louisiana (offensive quality control)
2002: Wingate (wide receivers)
There are mixed reports about how much control Dawson had over the Mountaineers offense, He shared play calling duties with the skullet. However, everywhere Dawson has coached, his teams have been productive on offense. But, maybe the biggest benefit Dawson brings to Lexington is that hIS recruiting territory at West Virginia included Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
How does Dawson’s hiring affect the current Wildcats?
Patrick Towles led a Kentucky team that rushed slightly more than they passed in 2014. Dawson’s 2014 Mountaineers passed 60 percent of the time. I do not believe a heavier emphasis on the passing game bodes well for Towles, whether it had Neal Brown or a new OC. If Drew Barker can stay out of trouble, he will likely be the starting QB for the Wildcats in 2015. Barker still has a lot to prove after a roller coaster high school senior season that produced a first round playoff loss to Anderson County.
No matter who is playing quarterback for the football cats in 2015, the expectations will be higher. Dawson is Stoops’ man. Neal Brown was probably going to be the offensive coordinator at UK no matter who was hired as head coach after the departure of Joker Phillips. The spotlight will be on Dawson as he embarks on the biggest challenge of his career, putting points on the board in the SEC.