Nebraska’s defensive linemen will have their fourth coach in five years after defensive line coach Mike Dawson took a job with the NFL’s New York Giants.
“Coach Dawson informed me late last week he had chosen to accept a coaching position with the New York Giants,” Husker coach Scott Frost said Monday in a press release. “Mike has been a key part of our staff the past three seasons at Nebraska and UCF. He is a man of great character, an outstanding teacher, relates well to players and is a tremendous asset for any coaching staff.
“When you are fortunate to have outstanding coaches on your staff, they are going to have other opportunities in this profession. We will miss Coach Dawson, but wish him and his family the best as he takes the next step in his career with the Giants.”
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Dawson will coach the Giants’ outside linebackers. He made $475,000 last season and had signed a contract extension in January from Nebraska that went through the 2020 season.
He’s the first coach to leave Frost’s staff after all of his assistants followed him from UCF to NU. He replaced John Parrella, a former Husker All-American who coached the defensive line for two seasons at NU. Parrella, who recently took a defensive line coaching job with the Browns, was preceded by one season of Hank Hughes, who was fired in large part for struggles in recruiting.
Reached Monday, Parrella said he had “no clue” Dawson was leaving or the job was opening up again.
“I wish them the best,” Parrella said, declining further comment.
Before joining Frost at UCF, Dawson coached in the NFL from 2013-15. He spent one season as a quality control coach with the Philadelphia Eagles and two seasons as the team’s defensive line assistant. He played collegiately at Massachusetts in the mid-1990s. He also had stops at Boston College (2009-11), Akron (2006-08) and New Hampshire (2000-05), where he got to know Chip Kelly.
At Nebraska, Dawson had quickly earned the reputation as a skilled recruiter, landing four defensive linemen — Brant Banks, Mosai Newsom, Ethan Piper and Ty Robinson — in the 2019 recruiting class.
Players praised Dawson’s coaching techniques during the 2018 season. After his departure was announced, NU defensive end Ben Stille said goodbye on Twitter.
“This one hurts, always treated us like we were his own sons,” Stille wrote. “Helped us take our game to another level. This is what happens when you’re one of the best coaches in the nation.”