Chris Dawson, a veteran of more than 25 years in the field of strength training and most recently Kansas State's director of strength and conditioning the last 12 years, was named UCF's director of sports performance for football on Feb. 19, 2021.
Dawson managed the total strength program while providing daily leadership for the Wildcats' football strength and conditioning program for the last dozen years. The Houston, Texas, native spent the previous seven seasons as the head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Kansas before coming to Manhattan. Under Dawson's tutelage, 39 Kansas State players were drafted by NFL teams, including 10 that were taken in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
Prior to his tenure at Kansas State--which included seven bowl appearances--Dawson was part of four bowl teams from 2003 to 2008 at Kansas, including a 2008 Bowl Championship Series appearance in the Orange Bowl. Following the successful 2007 campaign, Dawson was awarded the National Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society.
Dawson worked the 2001 and 2002 football seasons as the head strength and conditioning coach for the University of Minnesota after serving a five-year stint at the University of Oklahoma, his alma mater. With the Sooners, Dawson worked with the football and men's basketball teams.
Before taking the position at Minnesota, he spent three months with the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL and two months with the NFL Dallas Cowboys as a strength and conditioning intern.
Dawson credits his success in the strength field to his mentors at Oklahoma. He learned under Joe Juraszek, who was the strength coach at Oklahoma during his playing days and was the head strength coach for the Dallas Cowboys for 14 years. He also received valuable guidance from Blair Prince, Pete Martinelli and Jerry Schmidt, the current director of athletic performance at Texas A&M.
Dawson played linebacker for the Sooners from 1992-94 and participated in a pair of postseason contests--the 1993 John Hancock Bowl and the 1994 Copper Bowl. He received his bachelor's degree in business management in 1995 and his master's degree in business administration in 1999, both from Oklahoma.
Dawson and his wife, Dawn, have three children--twins Madison and Meyer, and Macey.
|1995||Las Vegas Outlaws (XFL)||Strength and Conditioning Intern|
|1995||Dallas Cowboys (NFL)||Strength and Conditioning Intern|
|1996-2000||Oklahoma||Strength and Conditioning Coach|
|2001-02||Minnesota||Head Strength and Conditioning Coach|
|2003-08||Kansas||Head Strength and Conditioning Coach|
|2009-21||Kansas State||Director of Strength and Conditioning|
|2021||UCF||Director of Sports Performance/Football|