One-On-One With Coach Dwayne Dixon

For 15 years, Dwayne Dixon coached Florida's wide receivers. In the past few days, Coach Dixon accepted a position to coach the wide receivers at North Carolina State. I caught up with Coach Dixon for a brief interview over the weekend before he headed up to Raleigh.

LV: Dwayne, How excited are you to be back in coaching with NC State?

DD: I'm very excited. That's something I wanted to continue with, and I'm excited about the opportunity to be going into a new environment and new challenges. I really feel like we got a good staff together there and a good guy leading us. Chuck Amato is a guy that every time some of these jobs come open his name comes up. That says a lot about him as a coach... he's highly recognized.

LV: Talk about these last two months, how difficult has it been?

DD: Well it's been difficult. You really feel like you're qualified for a lot of the jobs and you go out and put in resumes and applications, but if you can't get in front of the people they'll never see what you're capable of doing. They never get to meet you and really get to know what you can bring to their program. I think Coach Amato and his staff got to see what kind of coach I was, what kind of person and family man, my values. They got to hear me talk about those things in person, but if you can't get in front of people, that's the frustrating part of this business.

LV: Let me blow your horn a minute. All they have to do is read a NFL magazine if they want to know about your ability to coach wide receivers. Did it surprise you that even with your track record it was hard to open some doors?

DD: I thought it was very surprising. It really is more like a fraternity and it comes down to who you know is more valuable than what you know and that's the part I never understood. Being with Coach Spurrier and Coach Zook, I have been with them a long time and even though they knew people, those people didn't know me. A lot of people get jobs because they've been coaching and moving around and they know people and their "tree" is getting larger and they know more people every time they make a move. I didn't do that for 15 years. But I chose to stay at Florida because I loved it at Florida. I loved coaching at a place where we had a chance to win every year. So I stayed there, but I had job offers every year while I was working. But when I wasn't working, no one was calling.

LV: How much did your former players call you during this time and say, hey coach is there anything I can do?

DD: There were a lot of players and people that know me as a person and supported me. There were a lot of prayers from family members and people around, especially my wife's family. They've been awesome. I've had a lot of people in support of me and that's what really has kept me hungry and continue working hard, and I know the opportunities were going to come.

LV: I'll tell you this much, losing you, Sandra, Brittany and Ian is Gainesville's loss and Raleigh's gain and I sincerely believe that. Dwayne, let's talk about the situation at NC State. Marc Trestman who is a devotee of the West Coast offense is the new coordinator there. Do you think that scheme fits in well with how you like to develop your receivers?

DD: Quite naturally it is. He is a guy who has been doing this for about 17 years as a coordinator in college and the National Football League. He was at Miami when I was being recruited and it's an awesome feeling to go in there with someone you know has the offensive mind to have a team be successful and get the offense moving and the ball going downfield. It's a system I've always followed watching the NFL game and watch how it's grown. It's been a fun part just meeting him, and I think that he's a guy who can teach me some football in a way that I haven't been exposed to.

LV: In 1990 you came in during the spring and the receivers got a whole new way of playing the game and getting involved. Do you see similar potential with you and Coach Trestman having that kind of an effect up there?

DD: I really do believe that Coach Trestman will be our leader on the offensive side of the ball. I think his leadership will add to the enthusiasm of the receivers who are going to get a lot of chances to make plays and be the next Torry Holt or Koren Robinson. They've had some great players up there, but now they have an offense with a man who has coached in the NFL, coached in the Super Bowl and knows how to teach it to make them successful.

LV: I guess one big positive is you get to continue to dislike Florida State.

DD: I do get to do that. I think Coach Amato having left there knows them very well and knows what they like to do. Sorta like Gruden in the Super Bowl and knowing the quarterbacks and all. That's the fun part to still be able to compete at a high level against good teams.

LV: After 15 year with the Gators, all the championships, all the players who moved on to the NFL, what stands out, what will stay with you the longest? Will it be having watched all those kids grow?

DD: I think that's what it is for me and that's why I wanted to stay in college coaching. I don't see those kinds of rewards when you're coaching at the NFL level. They've reached the pinnacle, they've learned all they're going to learn and if they don't know by then, they're cut. My thing is I like to see young guys, even walk-ons you know like Chris Doering. He comes in there and he takes on the things I was able to help him with as well as Coach Spurrier and our staff and he's been in the league longer than some of my first-rounders.

LV: What are your thoughts on the impression Coach Meyer has made and how the future looks for the Gator football team?

DD: I really feel good about that staff and that team. I think they've put together a good staff and they've done a great job of getting the players excited. I've seen a lot of the players and they are enthusiastic about what's to come and they were really excited about helping with recruiting and making sure the Gators will continue to be successful.

LV: One last thing, will you be scratching you head the week Florida heads to South Carolina to play Steve Spurrier?

DD: That's going to be an interesting game. I'll be keeping my eye on that one and probably set my recorder to see what's going on there. We'll probably be playing a game ourselves, but I'll definitely have my eyes and ears open for that. The thing I'm fortunate about is I don't coach against Coach Spurrier, Coach Zook, Coach Fedora and those guys so I don't have to deal with that, and I have a lot of teams I can cheer for.


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