Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/29/16
From Press Release
Haverford College Director of Athletics Wendy Smith has announced the hiring of Brendan Dawson as head men’s lacrosse coach. Dawson comes to Haverford College after spending the past five seasons as the head coach at Widener University.
“I would like to thank Wendy Smith and all of the members of the search committee for the opportunity to lead the Haverford College Men’s Lacrosse team,” stated Dawson. “Haverford is a special place where student-athletes can achieve great things in the classroom and on the field. I am excited and honored to become a part of the Haverford College community.”
“Brendan has a strong appreciation for and understanding of Division III athletics and is committed to providing an environment in which his student-athletes can excel both on and off the field,” said Smith. “With an educational foundation in developing the whole student and a strong lacrosse acumen, Brendan is ideally suited to establish a successful men’s lacrosse program within the Haverford community and the highly competitive Centennial Conference.”
During Dawson’s five years at Widener, he compiled a career record of 54-36, including a 35-11 record in the MAC Commonwealth Conference. His teams made the Commonwealth playoffs during each of his years at the helm with two appearances in the conference finals. The success of Dawson’s teams helped him to be named the Commonwealth Coach of the Year in both 2014 and 2016.
His players earned 31 All-Commonwealth Conference awards, headlined by the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year and 2016 Rookie of the Year. Under his tutelage, Dawson also had one player earn All-America honors in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2006. He also saw two of his players participate in the USILA North/South Game.
With Dawson’s defensive background, Widener led the Commonwealth Conference in goals allowed during three of his five seasons, highlighted by the 2013 season when his team allowed just 5.7 goals per game – the third-best mark in all of Division III.
Prior to taking the head coach position at Widener, Dawson started men’s lacrosse at Aurora University in Illinois. Named head coach prior to the 2009-10 academic year, he led Aurora to 11 wins in its inaugural season on his way to being named the 2011 Midwest Lacrosse Conference Coach of the Year.
Dawson has ties to the Centennial Conference as he was the 2009 assistant coach and defensive coordinator for Dickinson College where he was charged with recruiting and brought in the Division III National Player of the Year in a class that featured three first-team All-America selections and another honorable mention honoree. He got his start in coaching at Salisbury University – his alma mater – where he served as a graduate assistant/defensive coordinator and helped the team capture the NCAA Division III National Championship in both of his years on the sideline. In just two seasons at Salisbury, he coached 17 All-Americans, including the short stick defensive specialist of the year, defensemen of the year, long stick midfielder of the year, midfielder of the year, and player of the year.
Dawson had a strong four-year career at Salisbury, helping the team to Division III National Championships in 2003 and 2004 when he served as team captain. He was named first-team All-Capital Athletic Conference in 2002 and was a member of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Over his four seasons as a student-athlete, the Sea Gulls notched a 58-7 cumulative record. Dawson graduated from Salisbury in 2004 with a B.A. in history and political science. He got his M.A. in teaching from Salisbury in 2008.
Widener University Director of Athletics Jack Shafer announced on Monday afternoon the resignation of head men’s lacrosse coach Brendan Dawson. He is leaving the institution to become the next head coach at Haverford College.
“We are disappointed to lose Brendan Dawson from our department,” said Shafer. “Brendan is a person who brought tremendous energy and character to our men’s lacrosse program, athletics department and institution. He earned the respect of his student-athletes, colleagues and peers and did an incredible job of helping our program maintain its standard of excellence as one of the best in the conference. Brendan also recruited and further developed young men of high character who have represented our athletics department and the school well and with great integrity over the past five years. He will be missed by all of us, and we wish him the best of luck moving forward.”
Dawson helped continue Widener’s tradition of excellence in the sport of men’s lacrosse by leading the program to a 29-9 regular season record against MAC Commonwealth opponents, the conference tournament every year and one championship since his arrival in 2012. He also recorded a winning record of 43-38 overall while consistently putting together a strong non-conference schedule to prepare his teams for league play.
This year’s squad, which faced a challenging slate with four nationally-ranked opponents on the schedule, finished tied for second place in the league standings and nearly dealt perennial power Stevenson its first loss to a Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth school by never trailing in the contest until the final play. The team’s back line as well as the five goalkeepers Dawson mentored allowed just 43 goals against eight conference opponents, which matched a league best. For his efforts, Dawson was named the MAC Commonwealth Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons this past spring after previously earning the award following a successful 2014 campaign.
Off the field, Dawson’s student-athletes were highly recognized for their work in the classroom. This included producing 56 MAC Academic Honor Roll selections, seven Academic All-MAC picks and six who landed on the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team. Recent graduate Marc LaVine was also recognized as the MAC Men’s Lacrosse Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year this past spring.
A national search for a new men’s lacrosse coach will begin immediately.