Athletics News
Melissa Dawson
Melissa Dawson

Executive Associate AD/SWA


FAU Welcomes John Semeraro Senior Associate AD


FAU Welcomes John Semeraro as Senior Associate Athletic Director


Women's Soccer Battles Opponents, Isaac

Tournament schedule changes to playing on consecutive days due to impending track of storm


FAU Student Tailgate Area Moved for Football Season

New Location to Provide an Opportunity for More Student Involvement


Photo Wall At Oxley Center Shows FAU History and Tradition

More than 300 team pictures have been collected

Melissa Dawson was tabbed Florida Atlantic University's Interim Athletics Director in March of 2012, a role she served until August of the same year when Director of Athletics Pat Chun was hired. Dawson has since worked hand-in-hand with Chun to transition into Conference USA and to change the culture of FAU athletics while upholding the mission of student-athletes first.

Dawson accepted the task of Interim AD head on, as she had done with any charge. Within weeks she had solidified Mike Jarvis' contract extension and inked a three-game football series with the University of Miami, which included the Hurricanes playing in Boca Raton in 2015. Dawson then turned her attention to hiring Kellie Lewis-Jay as the women's basketball head coach and Fernanda Nelson as the women's volleyball head coach, all while FAU hosted the Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship for the first time, as well as football's spring game and season-ending banquet.

Dawson, a central Florida native, stepped into the role as interim AD after more than two years as the department's senior associate athletics director, a position she earned after nearly 10 years of service as the program's associate athletics director and senior woman's administrator (SWA).

Dawson came to FAU in 2001 with the task of elevating FAU's facilities and game operations. Since that time, the facilities landscape has added a softball stadium, a $4.5 million outdoor track, an $11 million renovation to the arena and a $70 million on-campus football stadium, the crown jewel of the university. She also has had oversight of game operations, facilities, human resources, strength and conditioning, the equipment room, sports medicine, turf maintenance and grounds of 14 of the 20 teams.

Dawson came to FAU from Florida State University, where she held various positions during her 12-year tenure. A 1992 Florida State graduate with a B.S. in physical education, Dawson used her time wisely to gain experience in all aspects of the daily operations of athletic teams and the program as a whole, concluding her FSU stint as an assistant director of athletic facilities and operations. Dawson's FSU experience also included the direct supervision of operations for volleyball, soccer and softball as well as assisting with tennis and swimming. This combined with managing eight athletic facilities, acting as the FSU and Nike liaison, and supervising an equipment staff was done while earning a master of science in athletic administration in April of 1996.

Dawson has served as the tournament director or assistant tournament director for the ACC Championships, the NCAA Regional Championships and the 1996 NCAA Women's Tennis Championship.