UK Football

Kentucky football expected to hire W.Va. assistant as offensive coordinator

Shannon Dawson
helped pilot an offense that averages 85 plays a game.
Shannon Dawson helped pilot an offense that averages 85 plays a game.

Shannon Dawson, West Virginia's offensive coordinator, is expected to be named to the same position at Kentucky on Friday.

The Clinton, La., native and 11-year coaching veteran has been with the Mountaineers since 2011, starting as the inside receivers coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2012.

In two of the past three seasons, WVU has averaged 500-plus yards of offense a game. Its Air Raid offense is No. 11 nationally in total offense this season, averaging 502.1 yards a game with the run/pass balance that UK Coach Mark Stoops favors.

The Mountaineers threw for 3,775 yards and rushed for 2,250 yards, averaging 5.91 yards per play. They were 38th overall in scoring offense, averaging 33.2 points per game.

West Virginia was among the nation's top passing teams, averaging 314.6 yards a game through the air with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The Mountaineers, which are 7-5 (5-4 in the Big 12), passed the ball 489 times and ran it 531 times this season.

Its offense averaged 187.5 yards rushing, scoring 18 touchdowns, good enough for 38th in the nation.

West Virginia will play Texas A&M on Dec. 29 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. It is unclear whether Dawson will coach in the bowl game or how much pre-bowl prep work he would do.

With the move to Kentucky, Dawson could see a big increase in pay. According to the USA Today's assistant coaching salary database, Dawson made a base salary of $251,000 last season at West Virginia, compared to the $550,000 Kentucky paid Neal Brown before he took the head coaching job at Troy shortly after the Cats' season ended.

Dawson's primary recruiting territories at West Virginia were in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the junior college ranks. Some of his top 2015 commits include four-star quarterback David Sills, the No. 14 pro-style quarterback nationally, according to Rivals.

Dawson also was the primary recruiter of David Long, the No. 21 inside linebacker nationally, according to Rivals and a player who was on UK's radar. Long was a high school teammate of Mike Edwards, who sat out this season at Kentucky.

Before West Virginia, Dawson was offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin and Millsaps, winning four straight conference championships between the two stops.

Dawson played quarterback and wide receiver at Wingate and led all wide receivers with 43 catches for 584 yards and seven touchdowns while passing for two touchdowns. He received a bachelor's degree from there in 1990, according to his West Virginia bio.

In 2002, Dawson coached wide receivers for Wingate before former Kentucky coach and Air Raid offense guru Hal Mumme hired him at Southeastern Louisiana as head of offensive quality control and later as running backs coach.

After that, Dawson spent 2005 as a graduate assistant at New Mexico State under Mumme.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader