Pat Dawson passed away last week – much, much too soon – and the world is a worse place for it.
Our paths overlapped at Concord University, where I was SID and the Mountain Lions’ play-by-play voice and he was an assistant coach for a football program ascending from irrelevance. The rise to the top is always thrilling, and it was an exciting time in Athens.
Concord went just 1-21 over the 2007 and 2008 seasons. But by 2011, Pat’s first season on Garin Justice’s staff, the Mountain Lions completed a remarkable turnaround that included an unlikely conference championship and a spot in the NCAA playoffs.
All the coaches were helpful and easy to work with. But Pat and I, both being somewhat low on the athletic department totem pole, had more chances to talk freely about things. He’d give me the straight dope on what was going on with the team, knowing that what needed to be kept in confidence would be treated as such. He was also unfailingly enthusiastic, and it was clear that he loved what he was doing.
Concord went on to greater heights in 2014, and Pat rose through the ranks to become defensive coordinator in 2016. To lose him now, too soon, is a tragedy. Heartbreaking. And unfair.
A good guy will be laid to rest today.
Rest in peace, and thank you, Pat Dawson.