Edit: Well, this was fun. It appears Dawson changed his mind is now staying at Kansas State.
When asked about the report, a spokesperson for the K-State football team said: "There is no truth to that."
And a player tweet:
CHRIS DAWSON "I'm staying at kstate and I'm excited for off season" thank you god!!!! Love this coach!!! #thanksforthecall— Ryan Mueller (@R_Mueller44) January 13, 2012
Dawson's family is from Kansas, thus his wrestling with the decision. If he showed up in the Washington Staff directory, with an email address and all, it shows how far everything went. No idea what happened at the last moment, but Kansas State may have countered with an offer to keep him around.
Original story which is now moot:
WSU has half-confirmed, in a way, that Chris Dawson has joined Mike Leach's staff. He's in the staff directory, which is as good as we're going to get until Leach announces the full staff. We first reported this last week after multiple sources told us Dawson was headed to Washington State from Kansas State. We're told the well-respected strength coach was given a substantial offer by Leach -- one that will put him near some of the top-tier of coaches in his profession -- and only decided to join the Washington State staff after mulling it over for weeks.
Simply put, Dawson is worth every penny that he'll make. Strength coaches are one of the most, if not the most, important figures in a college football program. Right now, it feels like they're undervalued, though that seems to be changing lately.
Consider that a strength coach will spend more time with the players than any other coach will over the course of their careers at Washington State. The strength coach conducts the offseason workouts, laying the foundation for the future, and oversees in-season maintenance sessions. It's not just weights, either: Dawson will be play a pivotal role in instilling and maintaining discipline -- he'll be the guy who gets to oversee the "punishment" sessions, be it in the offseason or after practice.
If you've read Swing Your Sword, you know how important this is to Leach. Bennie Wylie presided over the Texas Tech program, and oversaw some of the devilish -- yet completely relevant and related -- discipline activities. He, along with the coaching staff, would have players run through campus with cinder blocks above their heads, stopping at different department buildings to answer related academic questions. And this was for missing class.So what is Leach getting in Dawson? A man whose name is highly-respected in the strength world, and who comes with high praise from players and coaches. For instance, there was this from a player after Dawson's first season at Kansas State.
"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.
Or this, from Kellis Robinett, who spoke to Bill Snyder about Dawson before the Cotton Bowl.
"Chris has done a wonderful job for us," Snyder said. "He's the type of young person we like to have in our program. He works very hard at what he does. He brings a good deal of discipline to our program, and our youngsters have a great deal of respect for him. That's a vital element of working with young people. He's been super."
He's good, and I can't emphasis enough how big this is for Leach and his program. Leach is making a significant investment in Dawson and his hire is a fantastic move for the program. He'll immediately get to work on the offseason conditioning program, which is going to push players extremely hard. But in the end, the results and gains should speak for themselves as Dawson picks up where Darin Lovat -- who did an excellent job, by the way -- left off.