Dudley E. Dawson, who has been inside the Arkansas sports program or reporting on the Razorbacks for the past 41 years, has joined LRB Sports Media, Inc.
Dawson, a Heisman Trophy voter and Newport native, will be a senior analyst on all Arkansas men’s and women’s sports for Hogville.net, cover Razorback baseball for the site and appear on KNWA and KARK’s Pig Trail Nation Sunday night sportscast.
He will also be a contributor to Fearless Friday.com, which specializes in Arkansas high school football, and will appear on Fearless Friday’s highlights show on Fox 16 in Little Rock and Fox 24 in Northwest Arkansas.
“Even though I make my living using words, I can hardly find the right ones to express how truly blessed I feel to have this opportunity to work with Lanny Beavers and his staff,” Dawson said. “I feel like a free agent who has been courted by the best and believe I am joining a Super Team of experienced professionals.
“I look forward to joining Mike Irwin, Otis Kirk and Kevin McPherson in bringing the best Razorback coverage to Hogville, helping Wess Moore with Fearless Friday and working with the outstanding NBC and Fox television professionals.
“It is my goal to visit every high school football program in the state between now and the start of the 2022 season. I have great love for the pureness of high school sports and want to help make Fearless Friday a daily stop for coaches, players and fans.”
Dawson, 58, was an all-state football and all-state basketball player at Newport for legendary head coaches Bill Keedy and Bill Osier.
He turned down college football scholarship offers from Harding, UCA, Henderson St., Ouachita Baptist and basketball ones from Harding, UCA, Arkansas College and Arkansas Tech to accept a role for Arkansas head coach Eddie Sutton’s basketball program as a student assistant.
Dawson joined former Newport and Arkansas basketball star and best friend Charles Balentine in Fayetteville and takes some credit for Balentine’s game-winning shot that took down No. 1 North Carolina and Michael Jordan in Pine Bluff on Feb. 12, 1984.
“I threw him thousands of passes from the fourth grade on to get him ready for that moment,” Dawson joked. “I scored points than him and was taller than him in the fourth grade, but then he hit a growth spurt. I am still waiting for mine as I approach my 59th birthday this summer.”
Dawson spent four years as a student assistant under Sutton and two years as a graduate assistant under Nolan Richardson.
“Both were obviously Hall of Fame coaches, but also helped me grow as a man, further instilled the work ethic my dad Ben and mom Brenda had started on our farm growing up with myself and my late younger brother Jeff. I consider both men father figures.”
Dawson, who was awarded Arkansas State’s Tex Plunkett Journalism Scholarship Award as the state’s top high school journalist in 1981, began his newspaper career as the sports editor of the Newport Daily Independent in the summer during his junior and senior high school years.
He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1986 with a major in journalism and minor in political science and worked at the weekly Wynee Progress for a summer before accepting a job at the Hot Springs Sentinel Record in September.
Dawson and his late wife Laura Beth Horne moved on to the Northwest Arkansas Times in Fayetteville in 1987 and he has spent the last 35 years covering the Razorbacks for the Times, Hawgs Illustrated magazine, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette newspaper and various sports talk programs.
“I will always be thankful to my journalism heroes at Arkansas like Rick Stockdell and Larry Foley as well as fellow mentors like sports editors Bob Wisener, Grant Hall and retired Hawgs Illustrated publisher Clay Henry,” Dawson noted. “Lots of great lessons learned professionally and personally along the way from those guys.”
Dawson will also continue to appear on a pair of ESPN Arkansas radio shows – Press Row with Grant Hall and Ruscin and Zach in Northwest Arkansas – as well as Out of Bounds on the The Buzz 103.7 in Little Rock.
He is also a weekly guest on Sidelines Live, which features veteran sports writers who cover SEC college football and basketball and airs on Memphis Sports Radio 56 AM, Atlanta’s The Fan 680 AM and Fox Sports Central Alabama on WFXO 98.3 FM.
Dawson has been married the past 11 years to fellow 1981 Newport graduate and former teacher Petra Dotson Dawson, his high school sweetheart, and they live in Springdale.
They have four adult children in Lindsey Dawson (33), Brooks Dawson (30), Camille Bowen (30) and John Bennett Bowen (27).