Basketball is one of the most demanding sports played on this planet; requiring grace, physicality, and skill.
For Derek Dawes, basketball was the game which melded perfectly with his personal attributes, a game which has been the foundation of his life and character.
“It’s a game I’ve always loved, and still do. It’s just what I’ve wanted to do,” he said.
Dawes, who played high school basketball at Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City, attracted recruiting attention from many of the nation’s elite basketball schools.
While he was highly sought after by Ohio State University and Auburn University, as well as the University of Utah, he eventually choose to play at Brigham Young University.
“BYU is an incredible university…,” Dawes said. “I learned there would be volumes written about what I learned. I learned what it is to be a good teammate, to work hard, to focus. To put your own needs or wants, or whatever you want to call it, aside for the good of the team.”
While Dawes admittedly arrived at BYU with much of the attitude which surrounds being a star basketball recruit, former BYU head coach Steve Cleveland remembers that Dawes served as a positive role-model for his BYU teammates.
“His example and how he treated people and never judgmental; he became a great teammate to a lot of young people,” said Cleveland, who is currently employed by BYU-TV as a basketball color commentator.
After graduating from BYU with an undergraduate degree, Dawes pursued a graduate degree in athletic administration at Gonzaga University. Dawes graduated with a master’s degree in 2010, and was hired by Dixie State College later that year.
In his role as both coordinator of community relations and marketing, Dawes works as a liaison between the school’s boosters and the athletic department.
“I’ve just tried to represent Dixie State the best I could, and through that show how awesome our student athletes, and show what a good force that they do in the community and here for campus,” Dawes said.
During a December 5th basketball game against Notre Dame de Namur, Dixie State College was presented with the PacWest Conference Community Engagement Award, an award which Dawes views as one of the department’s greatest accomplishments during his time in St. George.
“I’m proud that we won the Community Engagement Award. I’m proud of that,” he said. “The student athletes put in a lot of time in the community doing a lot of different things and serving a lot of people. And they’re not looking for awards or gratification or notoriety, but they are looking to thank the people who come and support them day in and day out.”
Overall, Dawes is hoping his work at Dixie State College will lead him to his ultimate goal of becoming an athletic director at the NCAA level.
DSC Athletic Director Jason Boothe noted Dawes is preparing himself well for that challenge.
“The experience they’re getting here with this athletic department is very unique in Division II, where it’s a very good setup here,” Boothe said. “And with the very good avenues that we have with this community here, Derek specifically will get that experience here and do very well if that’s something he wants to do.”