Johnny Dawkins was named UCF’s seventh head men’s basketball coach on Mar. 23, 2016 and had immediate success in his first season with the Knights. Dawkins led the Black and Gold to a 24-12 overall record, doubling the team’s win total from 2015-16, the sixth best turnaround in all of NCAA.
With just seven scholarship players, Dawkins’ Knights earned their highest ever seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, and fourth seeded UCF advanced to The American Semifinals for the first time in program history.
A season full of firsts, UCF hosted its first NIT game in 2016-17, defeating Colorado for the program’s first ever win in an NIT or NCAA Tournament game. The Knights went on to defeat top seeded Illinois State on the road, before coming home to the first ever sell-out crowd at CFE Arena and winning 68-58 over Illinois to earn a spot in the NIT Final Four.
Under Dawkins’ leadership, UCF led all of NCAA Division I in defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to just 36.5 percent from the floor. The Knights were also sixth in the nation, allowing only 61.2 points per game, and gave up 45 or less points in four games over the course of the year.
Dawkins came to Orlando after an eight-year stint at Stanford, where he led the Cardinal to five postseason appearances, including a trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2014, and four 20-win seasons.
Prior to his stint in Palo Alto, Calif., Dawkins coached for 10 years under the legendary Mike Krzyzewski at his alma mater, Duke. He played for the Blue Devils from 1982-86, where he was named the 1986 Naismith National Player of the Year and helped lead Duke to three NCAA Tournament berths, including an NCAA National Championship Game appearance in 1986.
FIRST YEAR HONORS
In his first season with the Knights, Dawkins earned accolades as one of the top coaches in the nation. He was named a finalist for both the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year and the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year awards.
Stanford put together four 20-win seasons in Dawkins’ tenure as head coach. He is only the second coach in Stanford history with at least four 20-win seasons. Stanford’s success on the court came against some of the toughest schedules in the nation. During the 2015-16 season, the Cardinal faced the sixth-most difficult slate in the country. A nation-leading 17 of Stanford’s 30 games came against RPI Top 50 squads. Stanford’s strength of schedule was rated in the top 50 each of the past four seasons, including two in the top 20, with an average rank of 27.75.
The Cardinal basketball program also excelled in the classroom during Dawkins’ tenure, earning at least three Pac-12 All-Academic selections for five consecutive seasons and producing back-to-back Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients (2014, 2015). Stanford also received annual national academic recognition, with three players earning National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court status in 2015. The Cardinal was one of 20 NCAA Division I teams to earn an NABC Team Academic Excellence Award last season.
In 2012, Dawkins mentored Chasson Randle to become the consummate student-athlete. Randle finished that season as Stanford’s all-time leading scorer and earned the program’s first Academic All-America First Team selection since 2006. Under Dawkins, Stanford recorded back-to-back perfect Academic Progress Rate scores of 1000 in both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 reports, the two most recent to be released by the NCAA.
Player development was also markedly improved at Stanford under Dawkins’ tutelage. Four Cardinal players were selected in the NBA Draft following their collegiate careers.
LEARNING FROM A LEGEND
The Washington, D.C. native coached for 10 years under the legendary Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. During Dawkins' decade as a coach at Duke, the Blue Devils won a national championship (2001), tallied six ACC regular season championships, recorded seven ACC Tournament titles and posted a 330-60 record. In four consecutive seasons from 1999-2002, Duke finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in both national polls, a first in college basketball history. Duke reached a No. 1 national ranking in seven of the 10 seasons with Dawkins on the coaching staff.
While at Duke, he also served as the Player Personnel Director for the USA Basketball Senior National Team from 2006-08.
Following a prolific high school career at Mackin Catholic in Washington, D.C., Dawkins made his way to Duke, where he would become one of the most decorated players to step foot in Durham, North Carolina.
He played for the Blue Devils from 1983-86, earning Consensus All-America honors twice (1985, 1986). Dawkins was also voted as the 1986 Naismith National Player of the Year and named a Freshman All-American in 1983. During his collegiate career, he helped lead Duke to three NCAA Tournament berths, including an NCAA National Championship Game appearance in 1986. He was listed as an All-ACC honoree in all four seasons as a Blue Devil.
Dawkins finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer and held that honor until 2006 when J.J. Redick surpassed his mark of 2,556 points. He recorded double-figure point totals in 129-of-133 collegiate games. Dawkins led the Blue Devils in scoring all four years, recording the fourth-highest season point total in school history with 809 in 1986. Dawkins remains Duke’s career record-holder in field goals (1,026) and field goals attempted (2,019) while also owning the school’s best single-season mark for field goals (331) during the 1986 campaign.
Dawkins was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame in September 1996. His jersey number 24 was retired by the school.
A 1986 first-round draft pick (10th overall) by San Antonio, Dawkins saw action in nine NBA seasons with the Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.5 assists over 541 career NBA games.
GIVING BACK TO THE GAME
Dawkins has served as a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Board of Directors since 2012. He also currently serves on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Ethics Coalition, an independent committee of current and former coaches, charged with promoting ethical conduct through leadership, education and mentoring opportunities, while identifying key issues challenging the coaching community.
THE DAWKINS PROFILE
Birthdate – Sept. 28, 1963
High School – Mackin Catholic High School (Washington, D.C.)
College Degree – B.A., Political Science, Duke (1986)
Wife – Tracy
Children – Blair, Sean, Jillian, Aubrey
2008-16 – Stanford – Head Coach
2000-08 – Duke – Associate Head Coach
2006-08 – USA Basketball Senior National Team – Player Personnel Director
1998-99 – Duke – Assistant Coach
1982-86 – Duke
Naismith National Player of the Year (1986)
NCAA East Regional MVP (1986)
ACC Tournament MVP (1986)
Consensus All-American (1985, 1986)
First team All-ACC (1985, 1986)
Second team All-ACC (1983, 1984)
Freshman All-American (1983)
Duke Team MVP (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986)
Drafted – 1986 NBA Draft, San Antonio Spurs, First Round, 10th overall pick
1986-89 – San Antonio Spurs
1989-94 – Philadelphia 76ers
1994-95 – Detroit Pistons
As of April 2017