Phillip Deas stood in front of his football team one final time Thursday afternoon, thanking them for their support, their character and their integrity.
Deas then assured the Eagles players they were in capable, familiar hands.
“This is an exciting day at ECA,” said Deas, who will remain on staff as offensive coordinator. “I can tell you that your next head coach is one of the greatest men that I have had the opportunity to be around. We were able to win championships together as players. We’ve been able to win championships together as coaches. I know one thing the future of ECA football is secure. I can tell you today it is my great privilege to be handing the baton of head coach leadership to my very close friend and my brother, Byron Dawson.”
With that, Dawson was introduced as the sixth head football coach in Evangel history, one greeted by hearty applause one who carries on an Eagles legacy.
“He is a man of this house,” Evangel chancellor Denny Duron said.
Dawson and his two brothers all played at Evangel, and Dawson has been an assistant with the Eagles for nine seasons before ascending to the top spot Thursday.
“This program has been part of my life since I was in the ninth grade,” said Dawson, who was a four-year starter at LSU. “I consider this the best job in the country.”
Dawson worked for four head coaches during his time as an Eagles assistant — Dennis Dunn, Ronnie Alexander, John Bachman and Deas.
Dawson said he had opportunities to leave the school, but something kept pulling at him, telling him to stay on Broadacres Road.
“I knew in due time, God would put me in the right spot,” Dawson said. “I never once coveted or wanted the job. Pastor Denny let me know that, in due time, if the position came available, I would be the guy. I feel so honored that I am the head football minister of Evangel Christian Academy, because this is a ministry. I want all you guys in the audience to know dreams do come true. Mine just did.”