Southern names Dawson Odums as head football coach

Staff Writer
Donaldsonville Chief

BATON ROUGE - In the history of Southern University football, only two coaches own the distinction of having defeated Grambling State, Jackson State, and Florida A&M in their first season running the program; Pete Richardson (1993) and the Jaguars' future head coach Dawson Odums (2012).

On Friday, Southern athletics director Dr. William Broussard recommended Odums, who led Southern to a 4-5 record after being named interim in September, at an afternoon Southern University System Board of Supervisors meeting in the J.S. Clark Administration building on the Baton Rouge campus.

"(Dawson) Odums proved to be a capable leader through adverse times during the 2012 season, and accomplished much with little," Broussard said. "He led with purpose and vision, valued high character and discipline among his players and staff, and put our team in position to win in the fourth quarter in eight of the nine contests in which he served as head coach."

Only four coaches - A.W. Mumford, Robert Smith, Richardson and Odums - own the distinction of having defeated Southern's three primary rivals in the same season.

During his 9-game tenure, Odums is largely credited with the Jaguars' success, placing an emphasis on player discipline and accountability which translated into wins on the football field. He also stressed the importance of academics and community involvement as a cornerstone for developing quality student-athletes both on-and-off the field.

Odums' previous title of defensive coordinator changed to interim head coach two games into Southern's 2012 season. The North Carolina native and N.C. Central graduate proceeded to lead the Jaguars to wins over Jackson State and against Florida A&M after an 0-2 start, claiming the programs first consecutive win streak since 2009.

Odums arrived at Southern in 2011 as the defensive line coach after a 3-year stint at N.C. A&T where he served as the Aggies' co-defensive coordinator in 2010 and defensive line coach in 2009. 

Before going to N.C. A&T, Odums spent four seasons at Division II Clark Atlanta. From 2002 to 2003, he served as the Panthers' assistant head coach, the defensive coordinator and the recruiting coordinator. In 2004, he earned his first opportunity to head a collegiate program when he took over as Clark Atlanta's interim head football coach.

Following his coaching stint at Clark, Odums became an assistant at the Aggies' Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival, Bethune-Cookman University where he coached the Wildcats' defensive line from 2005-2007.

Odums has also been an assistant at Georgia Southern and Gardner-Webb.

He spent two seasons at Georgia Southern where he coached linebackers in 2000 and in 2001 coached the Eagles defensive ends. The 2000 season was a special year for Odums as he assisted the Eagles to the Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) National Championship.

Odums continues to improve his coaching philosophy and techniques by attending various professional development based coaching camps and conferences. He was recently selected to participate in the 2011 NCAA Expert Coaches Academy in Orlando, Fla. In 2010, he was one of only 25 coaches selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the NCAA Coaches Academy in Indianapolis. The Academy is designed to train minorities for head coaching positions.

"Coach Odums' tutelage under great coaches as a player and assistant, coupled with his advanced study and training via the Coaches Academies showed in the interview," Broussard said. "His responses to questions from faculty, staff, and other coaches reflected clear vision, excellent articulation, and a commitment to academic, civic, and athletic excellence." 

A native of Shelby, N.C., Odums began his coaching career returning to his high school alma mater, Crest High School. Odums turned in a stellar playing career for the Eagles of North Carolina Central University in Durham as a three-year starter and an All-CIAA selection his senior year, where he also served as a team captain. Following his playing career, he earned a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Physical Education in 1997.