Back in December when Dana Holgorsen was hired as offensive coordinator, rumors started to swirl about who might follow him to Morgantown. One of those names was longtime friend, Shannon Dawson. Holgorsen didn’t have much to say about who he may bring in, his focus was with Oklahoma State and their bowl game against Arizona.
Soon after the hire of Holgorsen, reports out of Texas said Dawson would indeed be leaving Stephen F. Austin for the Mountain State.
In three seasons with Stephen F. Austin, Dawson’s offense’s ranked at the top of the Southland Conference in passing each year and in total offense his final two. He took over after a year in which the Lumberjacks had finished with an 0-11 record, and the team went 23-14 in his time at S.F.A.
Take a look at the stats from 2008-2010.
*2008, Stephen F. Austin averaged only 16 points per game and came off a winless season. In his first season, the Lumberjacks led the Southland Conference in passing offense (345.8) and were No. 3 in the nation. They also were nationally ranked No. 13 in total offense (415.7) and No. 14 in scoring offense (35.0).
*2009, his offensive squad led the nation in passing yards (343.7) and was No. 2 in total offense (468.9), No. 6 in scoring offense (34.9) and No. 10 in pass efficiency (147.8)
*2010, Dawson guided the nation’s No. 1 passing offense (362.2) and No. 4 scoring offense (36.3), ranking No. 6 in total offense (442.9).
One man who was happy for Dawson, his former boss, S.F.A head coach J.C Harper.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” said S.F.A. head coach J.C. Harper to the Daily Sentinel. Before we hired him, we couldn’t score. We averaged about 36 points a game the last three seasons. He’s done a tremendous job.”
Dawson has been friends with Holgorsen dating back to his days at Wingate. Shannon played quarterback and receiver in ’99 when Holgorsen was the quarterbacks and receivers coach.
It was only natural that Holgorsen would look to his friend to help him at WVU, The two have talked about wanting to work together for years, but they never had a opportunity.
Dawson is excited about working with his friend as inside receivers coach, and the opportunity it presents.
“Working at West Virginia University is a great opportunity for me,” Dawson said. “Morgantown is a beautiful place. Being able to work in a BCS conference and with Coach Bill Stewart and Coach Holgorsen really excites me and presents a great situation. I have known Coach Holgorsen for a long time, and we’ve always talked about working together and this is the first time that the opportunity has presented itself. I can’t wait to get started.”
With the changes to the Mountaineer offense, the staff had to hit the ground running and finish the recruiting class. We all know recruiting is about building relationships. Dawson already had a solid one built in Texas.
Flower Mound quarterback Paul Millard was on Dawson’s radar at S.F.A. He hoped that Millard may slip through the cracks and wind up joining the Lumberjacks. Millard always dreamed of playing for a bigger school and the chance to compete for a national title.
When Dawson accepted his new position with the Mountaineers, the opportunity was created for coach to get his player and player to pursue his dream.
“When I found out that he was going to West Virginia, I thought it was going to be a great opportunity. I just felt like West Virginia was the right place for me,” he says. “When I went up to West Virginia [last week] and saw the facilities they had, they’re definitely a program that can get me to that next level.”
Holgorsen and his new staff continue the work. They have already accepted 18 verbal commitments, and as impressive as that is, it shows no sign of slowing down.
Mountaineer Nation welcomes coach Shannon Dawson to the Mountaineer Family.