The Fayetteville Board of Education will vote on Thursday, January 26 on the recommendation to hire Billy Dawson as the new head football coach for Fayetteville High School. Dawson is currently the head football coach for Russellville High School.
“Billy Dawson is an outstanding and award-winning football coach, educator, and a person of exceptional integrity who will serve as an extraordinary leader of the premier Arkansas high school football program,” said Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt. “This is Fayetteville. Our goal was to find the best. The goal was achieved. Coach Dawson is our first choice. It is exciting to hire our #1 candidate from an impressive list of applicants and interested individuals. I am thrilled to place our football players into the care of a man I would want to coach and mentor my own son.”
As the current head football coach for 6A Russellville High School, Billy Dawson led the Cyclones to their first-ever state championship this past season. He previously coached at Nashville High School, compiling a record of 91-13 and winning three state championships in eight seasons.
Coach Dawson’s overall coaching record is 174-57 and includes four state championships, seven conference championships and a 33-game winning streak. He has been named Coach of the Year 27 times by different organizations and publications, including this past season’s 6A Arkansas High School Coach of the Year.
“After talking with Dr. Wendt and hearing his vision for the Fayetteville program and then meeting with Director of Athletics Steve Janski and getting a real sense for his passion, I knew that we were very compatible,” said Coach Dawson. “I knew Fayetteville, with its rich tradition, would be a great place for me. My wife and I are excited about becoming a part of the Fayetteville community. There was only one job in Arkansas that I would be interested in, and as I have repeated often, that job is right here in Fayetteville.”
Dawson earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Southern Arkansas University in 1991, and a master’s degree in administration and leadership from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1998. Coach Dawson has been married to his wife, Karen, a business education teacher, for 24 years. Their adult children attend Ouachita Baptist University, where Kyle is a junior and Rachel is a sophomore.
“We are happy to welcome Coach Dawson and his wife, Karen, to Fayetteville and the Purple Dog family,” said Athletic Director Steve Janski. “Coach Dawson has an impeccable reputation across the state of Arkansas as a leader, mentor, and coach of student-athletes. Billy’s tremendous success and his strong character and integrity make him the right fit for Fayetteville.”
Staff and community members making up a committee that assisted FPS last May in hiring a head football coach met with Dawson and solidified the recommended candidate. Reporting to Steve Janski, committee members described Coach Dawson as a person who will “invest from the ground up in Fayetteville Public Schools and our community, values and is aware of our diversity, and desires to form a staff that mirrors the demographics of Fayetteville.” Other members mentioned Coach Dawson’s “high integrity, a proven winner, class act” and a leader who will “put kids first.”
Coach Dawson is scheduled to attend the Fayetteville Board of Education meeting on Thursday, January 26 at 5 p.m. An introduction reception for football players, their parents, and assistant coaches is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the FHS Cafeteria. Following an introduction by Dr. Wendt and Mr. Janski, the new head football coach will make comments, respond to media questions, and greet those attending the reception.