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Lowell "Red" Dawson

Lowell “Red” Dawson earned his diploma from River Falls High School in 1925 before going on to play both football and basketball at River Falls State Normal School (now UW-River Falls), where he quarterbacked the football team to three straight conference and state championships.

Dawson played football at Tulane University in New Orleans under legendary coach Bernie Bierman from 1928-32 where he was named All-Southern Conference two years and honorable mention All-American one year. Standing 5-feet, 10-inches tall and weighing 165 pounds, he quarterbacked Tulane in a 21-12 loss to the University of Southern California in the 1932 Rose Bowl, the team’s only loss that season.

Dawson was a football coach and teacher at Robbinsdale, Minn., High School and served as an assistant to Bierman from 1932-36 at the University of Minnesota. In 1937, at the age of 29, he became the youngest head football coach in the history of major college football when he returned to Tulane and made national news when his team defeated Colgate, 28-6. 

Dawson had his picture featured on the General Mills Wheaties cereal box in 1937 and also earned endorsements from Baby Ruth candy bars and Rawlings Sporting Goods.

From 1946-48, Dawson was the first head coach of the Buffalo Bills in the then new All-American Professional Football League, coaching the Bills to the AAFC Eastern Division title in 1948. 

In 1950 Dawson was an assistant coach at Michigan State University before becoming the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh from 1951-54.

In 1952 Dawson received the “Dapper Dan Sports Award” from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as outstanding sports figure of the year, an honor he shared with Stan Musial.

Dawson was a member of the inaugural UW-RF Athletic Hall of  Fame class in 1977 and was inducted into the Tulane University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980.

Following his death in 1983, he was posthumously awarded the NCAA Memorial Award for distinguished service to athletics.

Dawson and his late wife, Adrienne Gottschalk of New Orleans, are survived by three daughters; Adrienne Dawson of Germantown, Tenn., Peggy Wheeler of Lutz, Fl., and Janet Hickson of Jackson, Miss.