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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Centenary Names Football Coach


Byron Dawson has a long career in sports

Last November, Centenary College announced it was bringing varsity football to Shreveport for the first time since 1947.

Now, we know who will be the Gents’ head coach.

Byron Dawson, who played at Shreveport’s Evangel Christian Academy and LSU before returning home for a 15-year coaching career at Evangel, has been chosen to lead Centenary’s football program.

“So excited!” Dawson said. “To be able to be a head coach, to do it in my hometown – a place that I love – to do it at a great school – I’m fired up.”

As a player, Dawson helped Evangel win three state championships. He was also on an undefeated (15-0) team and was named the USA Today High School All- American Defensive Most Valuable Player for Louisiana.

At LSU, Dawson was a four-year letter winner. He helped the Tigers win the 2001 SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl.

Dawson returned home and worked as an assistant coach, coordinator and head coach at Evangel. He led the Eagles to a state championship and coached 10 NFL players. Dawson believes his knowledge of high school football – and the state’s coaches – will be beneficial in recruiting.

“I love high school football,” Dawson said. “I think it’s some of the best high school football in the country. I spent 16 years (one year at Redemptorist in Baton Rouge) as a Louisiana high school coach. I’ve spoken at the Louisiana (coaches) clinics. I’ve mentored many of these coaches. I have the rapport with them. They know me, and I know them. I think it’s a great connection.”

For Centenary, Dawson’s football knowledge wasn’t the only thing that made him appealing.

“You could see his passion – his passion for developing young people into good people, successful people,” said Director of Athletics David Orr. “Helping them build their tool chest for opportunities after college … Obviously, he knows football. He’s been successful. But we were also looking for character and the ability to assimilate into this community as well as this institution.”

In athletics, Centenary is an NCAA Division III school. It does not offer athletic scholarships and has an enrollment of fewer than 600 students. However, Dawson said none of that will keep him from going after the best players – and people – possible.

“At the end of the day, you want to get mentored by great coaches. At the end of the day, you want to play. It’s not really about what you can get, but what you can become. There are a lot of kids that get a lot of bells and whistles, but they are not becoming the man and the player they want to be. Here, you have the opportunity to not only get the opportunity to play college football, but you can become something great here. That will be our sales pitch for sure.”

Centenary is scheduled to play football in the fall of 2024.


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