Hal Mumme praises Shannon Dawson, even Mark Stoops “happy” for him

Shannon Dawson (Vicky Graff Photo)

Shannon Dawson (Vicky Graff Photo)


It was a night for Shannon Dawson to savor, and former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme knew it.

Dawson was offensive coordinator at UK last year before being fired by coach Mark Stoops. Now he’s at Southern Mississippi and his team scored 34 straight points to come from 25 points behind and beat UK 44-35 in what was devastating loss for Stoops and UK.

Dawson started his coaching career under Mumme.

“Congrats to Jay Hopson, USM and my former brilliant Assistant Shannon Dawson on a great win in the sec. Shannon is the smartest fb coach I’ve known for a great while,” Mumme posted on Facebook immediately after UK’s loss.

Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson was asked when Dawson was saying when they fell behind 35-10.

“We basically were saying the same thing. We talked a lot. We were actually moving the ball. We got in some minus yardage situations early in the first quarter. We got into some 2nd & 15s and that’s something you can’t do, especially against a SEC football team,” Hopson said. “You can’t put yourself behind the sticks and I think we did that a little bit in the first half. That’s one thing in the second half we didn’t do.”

Did it help that Dawson knew UK’s personnel?

“He knows about it because he coached it, but I always felt like that was a loss because they know him too. I don’t think there was any advantage there one way or another,” Hopson said. “At the end of the day you give the credit to the players and the assistant coaches. They did a great job preparing the guys and the players. They played their hearts out. It was a joy to watch.”

Southern Mississippi quarterback Nick Mullens could not praise Dawson enough.

“He is awesome. I love coach Dawson. He is a great coach. We communicate a lot more with the way we get plays in and stuff, but I kind of knew going in, you just have to feel each other out and embrace the change,” Mullens said.

“But, other than that I am so proud of him. He did a great job tonight. The coaches deserve a lot of credit, all the credit in the world. They put us in positions to succeed and so we are thankful for that.”

Several UK players, including receiver Garrett Johnson and lineman Ramsey Meyers, hugged Dawson after the game. So did Stoops, who walked Dawson away from media members to say several things to him near midfield.

Then he offered this after the game.

“They did a heck of a job. That goes without saying. Coach Dawson and all that he’s gone through, I am happy for him. Obviously, I want our team to play better, but he did a heck of a job and they kept us off balance,” Stoops said.

Happy for him? My guess is that UK fans, and hopefully UK fans, were not happy for Dawson. And Stoops did fire him, so not quite sure what he meant that Dawson had “gone through” other than being fired.



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  1. Dawson got the last laugh for sure. I saw it coming early this year when Jay Hopson hired him as his OC. Dawson had been a good assistant and OC at every place he had ever been before the UK job. This loss has to go down as one of the worst in UK football history in terms of how the game went and how they ultimately lost it. So discouraging and humiliating! What irony was the Dawson firing. This loss hurt deeply, especially if you are a long time UK football fan. I took the Louisville loss hard last year, but this one has to open some eyes as to Stoop’s futue at UK. I don’t see how Stoops survives this. The schedule gets a whole lot tougher now. Southern Miss exposed this UK team as soft and hapless, especially the second half. To put it mildly UK football stinks. All these talented players UK is bringing in can’t close the deal. Is it coaching? I say yes.

    1. LP I disagree. This loss lays squarely on the shoulders of the players. They got smacked in the mouth at the end of the first half and folded their tents. KY has had a lot of coaches over the years and to a man they knew their business. You can give players the tools to win, the skills to win, a full ride scholarship and the facilities to win but you can’t give them the heart to win. When SM got down 25 points, they pulled their britches up and made a fight of it. KY’s answer to getting smacked was quit. I saw players at one point looking into the stands probably looking for their mothers to go to the principle and complain that Mikie wasn’t playing fair on the playground. Maybe these players should go out for women’s field hockey. They might be able to finish a game; or at least look like they are angry about getting pushed around. Now the problem is there are 19 other school bullies in the SEC that are licking their chops waiting to get a piece of KY.

      1. RJ..you can disagree all you want. The results are always laid at the feet of the guy with the big paycheck and the whistle. That guy leads his players and coaches. The coaches put players in a position to win. The team takes on his personna, his toughness, or lack thereof. Stoops is no coaching giant, that much we know now. It starts with him and ends with him. He has never addressed the woes on his side of the equation, that being the defense. UK could not stop the run since he’s been here, and they still can’t. The talent has improved, so we all say, but the results are still the same, losing football. If the talent level has improved and we are still losing, then it must be the coaching, right? Old Fan nailed it in an earlier post, if your offense scores 35, your defense should be able to perform well enough to get a win. Not a Stoops coached UK team. He lost me when he fired Dawson. That was BS, and Dawson proved it last night. Hopson’s team played their hearts out because they were inspired to do so by a head football coach who looks and acts like one. I am tired of all the Stoops excuses about working harder. Of course the players have to share in this, but they are not getting paid millions either. UK will never win with this guy at the helm. Hope he proves me wrong, but I doubt it.

  2. Many of us knew there was a chance that we would lose this game. GAMEDAY was putting us on upset alert…PLEASE..Many of us have never been able to purge the WKU loss from our memories and nothing has really changed since. Stoops/Eliot have not really shown any defensive expertise since they have been here. They are both in this way over their heads with a very visible trail of evidence to support this. Eliot is here only because of Stoop’s loyalty and Stoops is here because he must have been surrounded by unbelievable talent at FSU, history of family tree, and overwhelming sales presentation to Barney. The problem wasn’t that we lost the game it was how we lost the game. The season is now in severe jeopardy and our bowl aspirations have been vanished in the first game. Stoops/Eliot need to be fired immediately.

    1. Don’t despair Mike. It’s a long season. But if these players don’t start to display some guts and desire to fight, your goal predictions are probably right. Want to know who I blame for this: ESPN. TV is sold these kids a bill of goods that will, unfortunately, never come to fruition for 99% of these kids. ESPN says to them, all you have to do is establish and polish your brand and you’ll be the next $50 million draftee. They have to win first and then maybe get drafted. The pros don’t draft players that cut and run the first time the going gets a little tuff.

  3. “And Stoops did fire him, so not quite sure what he meant that Dawson had “gone through” other than being fired.”

    Larry, I think what Stoops is saying is that Dawson was the sacrificial lamb following last year’s collapse. That is what he went through. Now we know, last year’s debacle was not substantially his problem, if at all his responsibility. He took the fall so the rest of the staff could stay.

  4. I think you’re on to something Prof. Also, Dawson’s comment a couple of weeks ago about good players making coaches look good was oddly providential.

  5. Guys, yeah its a game we should have won. But it could a learning lesson to turn things into a postive way. I”m not gonna dewell this game as a negetive way. There”s 11 games to make things a positive way. Go cats!

    1. Cats 79…This game could be a learning lesson?…What has changed since WKU? It has been 4 years of less than mediocrity. Recruiting has improved, talent on the field is better but no change in the product. We have been bottom feeding for years and no end in sight. Stoops is the problem and not the solution.

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