Brendan Dawson will begin his first season as the Haverford College men’s lacrosse head coach in 2017. Dawson came to Haverford after spending the past five seasons as the head coach at Widener University.
“Haverford is a special place where student-athletes can achieve great things in the classroom and on the field. I am excited and honored to become a part of the Haverford College community," stated Dawson at the time of his hiring.
“Brendan has a strong appreciation for and understanding of Division III athletics and is committed to providing an environment in which his student-athletes can excel both on and off the field,” said Haverford College Director of Athletics Wendy Smith ’87. “With an educational foundation in developing the whole student and a strong lacrosse acumen, Brendan is ideally suited to establish a successful men's lacrosse program within the Haverford community and the highly competitive Centennial Conference.”
During Dawson’s five years at Widener, he compiled a career record of 54-36, including a 35-11 record in the MAC Commonwealth Conference. His teams made the Commonwealth playoffs during each of his years at the helm with two appearances in the conference finals. The success of Dawson’s teams helped him to be named the Commonwealth Coach of the Year in both 2014 and 2016.
His players earned 31 All-Commonwealth Conference awards, headlined by the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year and 2016 Rookie of the Year. Under his tutelage, Dawson also had one player earn All-America honors in back-to-back seasons for the first team since 2006. He also saw two of his players participate in the USILA North/South Game.
With Dawson’s defensive background, Widener led the Commonwealth Conference in goals allowed during three of his five seasons, highlighted by the 2013 season when his team allowed just 5.7 goals per game – the third-best mark in all of Division III.
Prior to taking the head coach position at Widener, Dawson started men’s lacrosse at Aurora University in Illinois. Named head coach prior to the 2009-10 academic year, he led Aurora to 11 wins in its inaugural season on his way to being named the Midwest Lacrosse Conference Coach of the Year.
Dawson has ties to the Centennial Conference as he was the 2009 assistant coach and defensive coordinator for Dickinson College where he was charged with recruiting and brought in the Division III National Player of the Year in a class that featured three first-team All-America selections and another honorable mention honoree. He got his start in coaching at Salisbury University – his alma mater – where he served as a graduate assistant/defensive coordinator and helped the team capture the NCAA Division III National Championship in both of his years on the sideline. In just two seasons at Salisbury, he coached 17 All-Americans, including the short stick defensive specialist of the year, defensemen of the year, long stick midfielder of the year, midfielder of the year, and player of the year.
Dawson had a strong four-year career at Salisbury, helping the team to Division III National Championships in 2003 and 2004 when he served as team captain. He was named first-team All-Capital Athletic Conference in 2002 and was a member of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Over his four seasons as a student-athlete, the Sea Gulls notched a 58-7 cumulative record. Dawson graduated from Salisbury in 2004 with a B.A. in history and political science. He got his M.A. in teaching from Salisbury in 2008.