UK announces Dawson as new OC

Kentucky confirmed Friday that it has hired Shannon Dawson to be the Wildcats’ new offensive coordinator.

Dawson, who spent the previous four years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at West Virginia, will fill the position vacated when Neal Brown took the head coach’s position at Troy.

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“I’m very excited to bring Shannon Dawson to the University of Kentucky,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said via a statement released by the school. “He has done a great job in helping build programs to success on every level. I’ve been impressed with the balance of West Virginia’s offense and how difficult they are to defend. I love the continuity he will bring to what we’ve been doing as we build on the progress we’ve made so far.

“In learning more about Shannon, I’ve found out what a strong leader he is and heard nothing but good things about him throughout our profession.”

Dawson, 37, will remain with West Virginia through the Mountaineers’ Liberty Bowl matchup against Texas A&M on Dec. 29.

“The opportunity to work with Coach Stoops is awesome, and growing up in SEC country, I’ve always wanted to coach in the league,” Dawson said. “I’ve recruited against Kentucky the last couple of years and have been impressed with how Coach Stoops is building a foundation and has the program going in the right direction. I look forward to helping him and his staff do that.”

West Virginia ranked 11th nationally this season in total offense at 502.1 yards per game and ninth in passing offense at 314.6 yards per game. The Mountaineers averaged 33.2 points and set a school record by scoring 30 points or more in eight consecutive games this season.

Balance was a big key in Stoops’ search for a new coordinator, and it appears that Dawson fits the bill. The Mountaineers averaged 44 rushing attempts, 187 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry in 2014. The WVU offense had 531 rushing attempts and 489 passing attempts.

Dawson’s background is rooted in the Hal Mumme “Air Raid” attack, though, and West Virginia’s quarterbacks threw for more than 3,000 yards in each of the last two years.

He is a native of Clinton, La., and played collegiately as a wide receiver at Wingate University in North Carolina.

His previous coaching experience includes stints at Wingate, Southeastern Louisiana (with Mumme), Millsaps College, and Stephen F. Austin prior to joining Dana Holgorsen’s staff at West Virginia.

Dawson and his wife, Chelsea, have a daughter, Acelyn.


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