Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Dawson to receive 2023 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award


12.05.2022 | Football

Former Texas All-American kicker Phil Dawson has been selected as a recipient of the award that recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their collegiate careers.

INDIANAPOLIS – Former Texas All-American kicker Phil Dawson has been selected as a recipient of the 2023 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, the NCAA announced on Monday.

The Silver Anniversary Award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. Representatives of NCAA member schools and conferences, along with a panel of former student-athletes, select each year's recipients. Six former college athletes will receive the award, which will be presented at the Honors Celebration ceremony Wednesday, Jan. 11, during the NCAA Convention in San Antonio.

"This is a really special honor for me and my family," Dawson said. "Representing The University of Texas 25 years ago proved to be the great joy of my football playing life. Being recognized by the NCAA with the prestigious Silver Anniversary Award produces a deep sense of appreciation and humility as I consider all those great Longhorns of old that I continue to have the opportunity to represent. I have so many great memories, will always bleed orange, and this is a recognition I'm honored and privileged to accept as a Longhorn for life."

"When you talk about an exceptional student, outstanding athlete and tremendous representative of your athletic department, Phil Dawson truly epitomizes that," said Hall of Fame Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds, who was the UT Men's AD from 1981-2013 and during Dawson's time on the Forty Acres.

"He's one of the best kickers in Longhorn history — or at any college for that matter — who went on to a long and illustrious career in the NFL. Coupled with that, he was highly successful in the classroom, a team leader and captain and a very active member in the community. He's continued all of that in his life after college, has a wonderful family, and is an extraordinary person who now is sharing all of his wisdom and knowledge as a high school coach himself. We couldn't be prouder of him and are so thrilled that he's receiving one of the NCAA's top honors as a Silver Anniversary Award recipient."

A member of the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor Class of 2012, Dawson was a four-year starter at Texas from 1994-97. He was a two-time All-American, who earned first-team honors as a junior in 1996, and honorable mention as a sophomore in 1995, while also twice being named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's best kicker.

A 1997 team captain, Dawson garnered all-conference recognition all four years at Texas, including first-team honors in the Big 12 in 1996, and in the Southwest Conference in 1994. In that span, he helped lead the Longhorns to three conference titles, including the first-ever Big 12 Championship in 1996 and the final SWC Championship in 1995.

Dawson finished his collegiate career with 13 UT records, including all-time marks for scoring (339), field goals (59) and field goal accuracy (74.7%). His scoring total ranked 16th on the NCAA all-time list and 12th among kickers. He set UT records by hitting 15-straight field goals (1996-97) and 54-straight extra points (1994-95), while also establishing a UT record by making six-straight field goals from 50 or more yards from 1995-97.

A 1998 graduate of UT with a degree in political science, Dawson was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection in 1997.

After his career at Texas, his determination and resiliency were tested as he pursued an NFL career. He signed as undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders following the 1998 NFL draft, was waived, and then picked up by the New England Patriots and placed on the practice squad. He eventually signed as free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 1999, going on to spend more than two decades in the NFL and become one of the most consistent kickers in league history. He spent 14 seasons in Cleveland and four more with the San Francisco 49ers before finishing his career with the Arizona Cardinals for two seasons.

During his 21-year NFL career that included 20 as a starting placekicker, Dawson was a perennial team captain until his retirement in 2019. He played in 305 career NFL games (currently eighth-most in league history) and ranks eighth in field goals made (441) and 12th in points scored (1,847). He is among the NFL's top all-time field goal percentage kickers despite spending most of his time in challenging weather conditions in Cleveland, connecting on 441-of-526 attempts (83.8%), with a long of 57 yards.

Dawson broke legendary NFL kicker Lou Groza's all-time Browns made field goal record with 305 during his time in Cleveland and ranks second only to Groza on the team all-time scoring list with 1,271 points. He still owns Browns' records for most consecutive field goals made (27) and most field goals in a game (six).

Throughout his time with the Browns, he was a not only a star, but a prominent face and representative of the franchise. He was voted the 2012 Browns Player of the Year by the local Professional Football Writers Association (PFWA) chapter and concluded his overall career by signing a one-day contract for a celebratory retirement with Cleveland in 2019.

Among the many accolades of his career, Dawson earned second-team All-Pro honors twice (2007 and 2012) and a spot on the Pro Bowl roster in 2012. He earned AFC or NFC Player of the Week honors eight times and was tabbed the 49ers Bill Walsh Award winner as the team MVP after making 24-of-27 field-goal attempts in 2016.

Following his playing days, Dawson has gone on to a successful career in coaching. He first became the special teams coordinator at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville in 2020-21, and is now in his first year as head coach and assistant athletics director at Hyde Park Schools in Austin where he began this January.

At all of his stops along the way, Dawson has maintained deep ties to civic and community involvement. At Texas, he was active in the community and as a member of the UT and national collegiate Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) program, regularly sharing his story and message with local and regional church groups and organizations.

Dawson has been active in every NFL community he's played in, but particularly Cleveland where he founded the "Dawson's 4 Adoption" season ticket program which provided tickets, apparel and food for the Adoption Network Cleveland organization. He was tabbed the 2006 Ed Block Courage Award winner by his teammates (Cleveland Touchdown Club) and the 2006 winner of the Doug Dieken Humanitarian Award for his charitable and community efforts, recognized by the Cleveland Touchdown Club. The following year, he was voted the 2007 Dino Lucarelli "Good Guy" Award honoree by the local Cleveland PFWA.

His wife, Shannon, is an accomplished singer who has sung the National Anthem prior to Browns' home games, toured with Wayne Newton from 1992-94 and sang at George W. Bush's Inauguration after he was elected Governor of Texas in 1994. They have two sons, Dru and Beau, and a daughter, Sophiann.

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