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Newly Hired Senior Women's Administrator

June 10, 2001

Boca Raton News
Guest Commentary: Howard Schnellenberger

I had the pleasure meeting Melissa Dawson, Florida Atlantic University's newly hired associate athletic director and senior women's administrator who arrived last week. She is a talented young woman who has enjoyed a vocation (not a job) at Florida State University for 12 years. She's been promoted to almost every assistant director position in the Seminole athletics department and consequently brings a wealth of experience.

In this newly created position, Dawson works closely with Athletic Director Tom Cargill to carry out his philosophies and programs and to give assistance in the way of fund raising, scheduling and problem solving to the coaches of women's athletics teams. She must be a good communicator who is able to coordinate and bring togetherness and parity to each team.

When asked why she made the commitment to leave the safety and comfort of Bobby Bowden's Tallahassee to come to the front lines of FAU's developing program, Dawson replied with the phrase I've come to hear time and again? "I want to be part of it." She wanted to come to FAU because ours is a program on the rise. She feels that she has the capacity to help in our growth and development. She's confident that she will make a difference.

When Dawson's successful tenure at Florida State began twelve years ago, FSU's athletic program, and particularly women's athletics, was in its early development stage? Very much as ours is today. Her navigation throughout that period of growth provides a wealth of experience that will help us in finding similar success. With a blueprint to follow, she'll lead us on a well beaten path through mine fields and keep us from making the same mistakes.

Being a cross country runner, Dawson brings characteristics that will serve her well. She's a self starter with individual initiative to stay in the race for the long haul. She knows that the race is not won until one crosses the finish line. If out of contention, one finishes the race as strongly as physically able. These attributes give her a strong personality to meet similar trials and tribulations as the associate athletic director of a growing program.

As with the many people who have joined our athletic program in the last three years, I'm really happy that Melissa Dawson is on our team. She's going to be a strong player in the growth of FAU's athletics department and football team.

While Melissa Dawson and I are together at FAU, I'm hopeful that Bobby Bowden will continue to coach so that he and I can once again stand on opposite sides of the field of competition one more time and relive the good old days. And so that we can give him a chance to get even.



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