ADRIAN, Mich. – Longtime Siena Heights University community member and volunteer football coach Doctor Michael Dawson (Doc) passed away earlier this week.
"Doc" spent 21 years as a member of the Siena Heights Board of Trustees and he also served as the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee for many years. He was a former team physician and was inducted into the SHU Hall of Fame in 2015. Another of Doc's contributions to the SHU community was his time spent as a volunteer football coach — a position he has held since the inaugural season of Saints football in 2011.
"Our entire staff feels an extreme amount of gratitude for Doc Dawson," said head football Matt Kohn. "We all firmly believe that none of us would be here at Siena Heights if it weren't for the efforts and generosity of Doc."
It was no secret that Doc loved being a part of the SHU football coaching staff and working with the student-athletes every season, especially the defensive players. His contributions to the team never went unnoticed.
"In a way, Doc was football," stated coach Kohn. "He worked closely with our defensive line and always demanded toughness and grit from the players he coached."
That toughness and grit came from personal experience. Doc worked a full day in the office during his career in orthopedics and then would return home and work on his farm until sundown. Then he would go to sleep, wake up, and do it all over again.
"The level of discipline, toughness, and grit an individual must have to continue this pattern day after day, year after year, is amazing," lauded Kohn.
Doc was also a generous benefactor to Siena Heights. The field at O'Laughlin Stadium is named after Mike and his late wife, Lynne. The Dawson Fitness Center is another space that Doc helped construct. He also helped fund some improvements to the softball field.
"I put Lynne's name on the field so she could see it from heaven," Doc said to assistant coach Rob Thornbladh during a visit to Doc's house.
The entire Siena Heights community is grateful for every contribution made by Doc Dawson during his time serving the university. He will be missed by everyone who knew him and worked with him.
"Our entire staff will miss seeing Doc in O'Laughlin Stadium," finished Kohn. "We will miss our visits to Doc's property to see Barkley (his dog) and Molly (his mule). Doc will forever be missed, and the time we had to spend with him will be forever cherished."