Clark Atlanta University President Ronald A. Johnson named J. Lin Dawson Athletic Director in November. As such, Dawson will oversee all of the CAU Panther Division II Athletic Program details, including compliance, budgeting, operations, advancement, student-athlete recruitment and professional staffing and development.
Dawson, who played tight end in the the National Football League, stopped by Jazz 91.9 WCLK to talk about President Johnson's vision for athletics at CAU and his own goals for the various teams on campus. He also addresses the importance of a robust athletic program at an HBCU, and his experience as a professional football player.
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Below is the CAU Press Release with greater detail about Dawson:
CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY NAMES LIN DAWSON ATHLETICS DIRECTOR
NFL Veteran On Board to Mobilize University Sports Program by Elevating Capacity, Competitiveness
ATLANTA (Nov. 18, 2015)--Clark Atlanta University (CAU) President Ronald A. Johnson today announced the appointment of J. Lin Dawson as the institution’s new Athletics Director, effective Wednesday, Nov. 18. The former New England Patriot brings more than 20 years of administrative, academic and entrepreneurial experience to the CAU program. Dawson comes to Clark Atlanta from Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C., where he has served as interim director of Athletics since 2013. In this new role, he will oversee the University’s NCAA Division II athletic program compliance, budgeting, operations, advancement, student-athlete recruitment and professional staffing and development. He also will serve as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet.
Dawson attended North Carolina State University and earned the B.S. degree in speech and communications from Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. He completed the MBA degree in human resource management/learning and knowledge management from Walden University in 1993, and is presently a Ph.D. student in Regent University’s School of Business and Leadership’s Organization organizational leadership program.
“In Lin Dawson, we have found an individual of unimpeachable character who personifies the highest ideals of sportsmanship, competitiveness, academic excellence and administrative effectiveness,” President Johnson said. “His career path and record of servant leadership enliven our aim to mobilize for the future by producing student athletes who are well rounded, successful on the field and in the classroom and fully capable of applying the values of fair play, mental and physical discipline and hard work to their pursuit of academic, personal and career goals.”
Dawson, who in 1981 was drafted in the eighth round by the New England Patriots, filled the first-string tight end position and was an integral offensive presence for 10 seasons, including1986 AFC Championship and Super Bowl XX appearances. Following his NFL career, he was among the nation’s first to design and implement leadership diversity programs for collegiate athletic programs and professional sports, elevating programming in more than 40 major universities and professional sports.
Dawson’s reputation as an efficient program builder is well-deserved. While director of athletics at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) (2000-2003), he initiated the Life Skills Program for student-athletes, increased athletic scholarships by 40 percent, eliminated a previous administration’s budget deficit and maintained the conference's best corporate partnership program. As Grambling State University’s (GSU) athletics director and special assistant to the president (2008-2011), he was awarded the Commissioner's Cup for having the best athletic program in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2010 and increased corporate sponsorship revenues by 400 percent. His teams won several conference championships, including National Black Champions in Football (2009). He also initiated a new fundraising program resulting in increased alumni and fan support, and he created the Port City Football Classic, which produced net revenues of $700,000 in its first year. His leadership experience also includes service as associate athletics director at VCU (2005-2006) and associate director of training and education at Northeastern University (1991-1994).
As a former student-athlete for the NC State Wolfpack, Dawson was a four-year starter and member of the 1979 ACC Championship Team. His many awards include commendations from: The White House, the Anti-Defamation League, National Football League, NCAA Division IA Athletic Directors Association, The Peter F. Drucker Foundation, The Boston Herald American and the National Consortium for Academics and Sports.
An ordained minister, Dawson and his wife of 30 years, Margo, have three adult children.