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story.lead_photo.caption Russellville High School coach Billy Dawson talks to his players during practice Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. - Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

FAYETTEVILLE — Billy Dawson will be named head football coach at Fayetteville, pending school board approval Thursday.

Dawson led Russellville to the Class 6A state championship this past season, the school’s first-ever football state title, and previously won three state titles as head coach at Nashville.

The Board of Education meeting to approve Dawson’s hire as Fayetteville football coach is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday.

“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,” Fayetteville Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt said in a school release. “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 number one 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.”

Dawson was in his second season at Russellville. He compiled a 91-13 record over eight seasons at Nashville, split up between two seperate stints. His overall coaching record is 174-57 and includes four state championships, seven conference championships and a 33-game winning streak.

Dawson 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.

He replaces Bill Blankenship, who guided Fayetteville to a second-straight Class 7A championship in his only season with the Purple Bulldogs. Blankenship, who was hired in June of 2016, resigned on Jan. 4 and accepted a similar coaching position at Owasso, Okla.

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 in Baton Rouge, La., in 1998.

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.”

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  • hurricane46
    January 25, 2017 at 12:07 p.m.

    Wonder how much he will be paid?, I bet a lot more than teachers that have been at FHS for years.

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