High School Football

New Dunbar coach will rely on his youth

Bob Lawson, Paul Laurence Dunbar's new football coach, thinks his youth will help him get the Bulldogs' program back on the winning track.

"I think I have a lot of energy and a great connection with kids," the 30-year-old Lawson said.

"It's good to be young and to have great experience. I think those things will help me at Dunbar."

Lawson has been associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Henderson County the last three years.

He is from Whitley County and played college football at University of the Cumberlands. He was an assistant coach there for four years before leaving to go to Pelham (Ala.) High, where he ran the defense for former Elizabethtown coach Brett Burnett.

After one season in Alabama, Lawson returned to Kentucky to rejoin his close friend Henderson County Coach Clay Clevenger. They were on the staff together at the Cumberlands.

Lawson wanted to be a head coach by the time he was 30, and he thinks Dunbar is an ideal place.

"The thing that really interested me in Dunbar is that it is so good academically, and that's going to carry over to athletics," Lawson said. "I think it's a high-potential place where academics and athletics can go right together."

Dunbar football has fallen on hard times in recent years. The Bulldogs are 7-36 over the last four seasons.

Lawson said the key to rebuilding the program "is that a lot of things have to get in place. I've got to get in the school and recruit the athletes there, and get the athletes already playing football to get on my plan and start working toward being a good team."

Defense is Lawson's calling card, but he described himself as a "very hands-on guy" in all facets of the game.

He said the style of offense he employs at Dunbar will depend on personnel.

While football is important to Lawson, his life doesn't revolve around the game.

"Being the best person I can be and the best influence I can be, that's what's most important to me," said Lawson, whose wife, Sarah, is also from Williamsburg.

Lawson will be making regular trips from Henderson to Lexington over the next few months to get his players working in the weight room and to run spring practice.

Lawson will be Dunbar's sixth coach in the last 11 years, following Jason Howell (2008-09), David Hensley (2005-07), Fred Barnott (2003-04), Mark Peach (2001-02) and Mike Meighan (1990-2000).