A. L. “Buck” Dawson, a husband, a father, a friend to many, and a resident of Morehead, Kentucky, passed away December 29, 2020, at home with his loving wife Roberta by his side. He was 83.
He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Roberta; a daughter, Robin Shaffer (Bill) of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; two sons, Joe Dawson (Laura) of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and Bill Dawson (Barbara) of Winter Haven, Florida. He is also survived by 8 loving grandchildren, Megan, Caitlin, Josh, Hannah, Paul, Bethany, Brooke and Brianna: and 8 great grandchildren. He also leaves behind countless extended family and friends amassed during his lifetime.
Buck was born in Bradshaw, West Virginia, on March 18, 1937, to Robert Edward Dawson and Lillie Belle Chambers, and raised in Kenova, West Virginia. He graduated from high school in Coal Grove, Ohio, where he was a four-sport athlete in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field. Recruited by Woody Hayes to play football at Ohio State University, he transferred to Morehead State after one season with the Buckeyes.
After a successful career as a player in football and baseball, and graduating from Morehead State University in 1960, he began his coaching career at Lafayette High School in Lexington, then Millersburg Military Institute. He earned his Master’s degree from Georgetown College and moved to West Virginia State University in 1967 as assistant football coach and head coach for track and field where he won five consecutive conference titles. In 1973, Morehead State University recruited him to lead the track and cross-country team and he was named the Ohio Valley Conference Track Coach of the year in 1974 and won the OVC Indoor Championship in 1977. The university recognized his successful coaching efforts by naming the track at Jayne Stadium the A. L. “Buck” Dawson Track.
After moving to Florida, and teaching in Polk County schools for several years, he started the cross-country program at Warner Southern University in 199l where he was recognized as Florida Sun Conference Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year.
In 1995, he was named Florida Southern University’s head cross-country coach where he led the men’s team to ten conference championships, including the last nine in a row, while guiding the women’s team to five league titles. Both squads placed in the top ten in NCAA regional competition ten times. Under Dawson’s guidance, FSU made a combined total of 22 appearances in NCAA postseason meets. He has been honored as Sunshine States Conference Men’s Coach of the Year nine times and SSC Women’s Coach of the Year five times. After retiring in 2007 he continued as a volunteer coach at Florida Southern University, and at Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina and as track, cross country, and golf coach at Morehead State University.
Recognizing his extraordinary coaching career and rich tradition of winning, he has been inducted into seven halls of fame including West Virginia State Hall of Fame in 2001, Morehead State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001, Florida Southern College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006, Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida in 2008, Polk County Sports Hall of Fame in Lakeland, Florida in 2008, Kentucky Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010, and the Warner Southern University Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. He was also recognized by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Fiftieth Anniversary – All Time Coaches List.
For over 40 years Buck created a winning tradition wherever he has coached and gives all the credit for his coaching success to God and his supportive wife Roberta.
Visitation for family and friends will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, January 2, 2021, at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals, 400 Fraley Drive, Morehead, KY 40351. COVID-19 visitation requirements will be observed.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. with Pastor Jeremy Halstead officiating. The funeral service will be livestreamed beginning at 1:00 pm Saturday on the Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals Facebook page. Private burial will be in Brown Cemetery.
Pallbearers: Joe Dawson, Bill Dawson, Bill Shaffer, Sonny Jones, Don Jones and Wayne Fields. Honorary pallbearers: Rex Chaney, David “Toby” Dawson, Terry DeCapio, Jose Larios, Oscar Jones, Bobby Jones and Pete Allen and all of his former runners and players all around the world.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are suggested to Morehead First Church of God, 576 Sunset Drive, Morehead, KY 40351
View memorial tribute or sign guestbook at www.northcuttandson.com
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