Wildcats impressed by new strength coach


K-State athletics has a new member of the family, and his name is Chris Dawson.

After spending the last seven seasons at the University of Kansas, Dawson is now the Director of Strength and Conditioning for K-State athletics. He will spend much of his time with the Wildcats’ football team.

Senior long snapper Corey Adams noted strength and conditioning as an area of change and improvement this season, and he credited Dawson.

“Coach Dawson, he’s a little nuts,” Adams said, laughing. “He’s intense. We all like him. We all really respect him a lot. When we first got here we were all pretty intimidated by him, but now we’re starting to develop a relationship with him where we can joke with him, talk, like a normal person.

“He’s really enthusiastic, which is great.”

Adams said Dawson is extremely particular about details, and the team learned that quickly. They were all supposed to wear white socks to lift, and someone was wearing black socks, so Dawson stopped the workout and made everyone do up-downs until that person went back to the locker room, changed their sock color and came back.

“He had punishments if guys weren’t doing things right, which is what we need,” Adams said. “If someone’s slacking off, you just can’t let it go. He made sure [if] people … were slacking off he would punish us.”

Adams said the players see the reasoning behind it. Once Dawson explained it, the players saw what he meant and were not going to argue with him.

After the 2007 season with KU, Dawson earned the National Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award from the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society. According to a statement released by the athletic department, NFL teams have drafted 29 players coached by Dawson.

Junior defensive back Tysyn Hartman said Dawson has made some changes, in and outside of the weight room, and is helping guys get to the weight they want to be. He sets up special programs that include lifting and incentives to help players gain or lose weight and become stronger. He agreed with Adams’ assessment of the coach.

“He’s got those eyes that can look right through you,” Hartman said. “He knows when you’re messing around with him and when you’re just telling him the truth straight up. He’s a good coach to be around.”

Senior quarterback Carson Coffman described Dawson as in-your-face, loud, and “what a strength coach should be.” He said he likes the style of coaching and is really excited for what Dawson has already done with the program.

“He’s really intense; some guys might not like that,” Coffman said. “He gets after us and makes sure we get a good workout. I can see a lot of improvement in some of the guys already.”

Votes of confidence from the players seem to follow the trend of testimonials concerning Dawson. Head coach Bill Snyder said good reports from athletes are one of the most important aspects of a coach’s reputation.

“I am pleased to have Chris join our program,” Snyder said in a statement announcing Dawson’s hire. “He comes to us highly recommended by not only coaches he has worked with, but most importantly by student-athletes he has worked with and ones that highly respect him.”