Vandergrift native lands job as D-II college football coach
College Football Videos
Vandergrift native Patrick Dawson attempted to break up a fight between opposing linemen during a spring football practice in 2011 at Concord University and emerged with a broken index finger and bloody lip.
“I think I still thought I was a player,” Dawson said.
Dawson, a 26-year-old former offensive lineman at Greensburg Central Catholic and Toledo, is big enough to hold his own against college linemen most of the time, but he's thrilled to be teaching the game now instead of playing it.
He joined the Division II school's coaching staff as a graduate assistant in early 2011 and was hired as the Mountain Lions' defensive line coach this summer.
Last fall, Dawson helped Concord to its first conference title since 1990 and first trip to the NCAA playoffs.
“I feel very fortunate things have worked out the way they did, to be as young as I am and be full-time on a championship team,” Dawson said. “Some of the guys on the defensive line are only three or four years younger than me.”
Dawson graduated with a degree in sports management and served as an assistant coach at GCC in 2009, when the Class AA Centurions captured their first WPIAL crown. Following the 2010 season, he met with Concord assistant coach Garin Justice during a recruiting visit to GCC.
“He came to recruit some of our offensive linemen, and we met at the school and sat down and spoke,” Dawson said. “I told him I wanted to coach at the college level someday. A week or so later, he was promoted to head coach, and he called me a few days later.”
Dawson arrived at Concord, located in southern West Virginia, as a grad assistant in early 2011. When defensive line coach Will King left for Delaware State just before spring practice, Dawson took over.
“I think they gave me a little more leeway than the average GA because I had my own position,” Dawson said. “I think the players rallied behind me because I was a younger guy. We clicked as spring went on.”
After the 2011 campaign, Dawson was promoted to a full-time position. He's also pursuing a master's degree. Since last year, Dawson has learned many coaching lessons, including staying out of the middle of scrums.
“I'll just blow the whistle this time,” he said.
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-224-2696.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Port Authority police discuss bus crash with county prosecutors
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin bringing officials to practice
- Rossi: Pirates plan to carry Hurdle deep into playoffs
- Steelers’ Tomlin does not like his coaching style to be characterized
- Penguins notebook: Malkin picture muddy
- Pets rescued from Westmoreland house fire
- 35,000 walrus come ashore in northwest Alaska
- Melocchi pleads guilty in leading McKeesport gambling ring
- September ranks with driest ever in Western Pa.
- Flags lowered to mourn Pa. state trooper shot dead during gun training
- Threat leads to evacuation of Sandy Hook school