Runnin' Bulldogs Hire Ron Dickerson, Sr., To Coach Defensive Line -—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
Runnin' Bulldogs Hire Ron Dickerson, Sr., To Coach Defensive Line
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: July 14, 2011
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BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Gardner-Webb's football program announced the hiring of Ron Dickerson, Sr., as its defensive line coach Thursday.

Dickerson joins the coaching staff of his son, Ron Dickerson, Jr., who is entering his first season in charge of the Runnin' Bulldogs in 2011. The elder Dickerson comes to GWU after spending the 2010 season as head coach at NAIA member Lambuth (Tenn.) University.

"The opportunity to bring a coach into our program here at Gardner-Webb who has nearly 40 years of Division I coaching experience under his belt was a blessing," said Dickerson, Jr. "For that coach to be my father is a treat for both of us. The young men in this program will benefit greatly from this addition to the staff."

Dickerson, Sr., brings a tremendous amount of experience on the defensive side of the football to the program, teaching and developing student-athletes at the highest levels of college football as both a position coach and coordinator. During that time, he has tutored 27 players that have gone on to play in the National Football League.

Dickerson has also served as head coach at Temple (1992-1997) and Alabama State (1998-1999). He is a past president of the Black Coaches Association (BCA) and was the first African-American head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A).

His first coaching job came after an injury ended a promising professional career during the 1972 preseason with the Miami Dolphins, a team that went on to a historic, 16-0, season. The Dolphins drafted Dickerson in the seventh round of the 1971 NFL Draft out of Kansas State, where he was a standout cornerback.

He coached in the secondary at his alma mater from 1972-1975, before going on to the University of Louisville for three seasons. Dickerson coached the secondary at Pittsburgh from 1978-81 - helping the Panthers to back-to-back 11-1 seasons in 1979 and 1980. The program was squarely in the national championship discussion both seasons. After a year away from the game, Dickerson returned to the sidelines as assistant head coach at Colorado (1982-84) before heading back to his home state to begin a successful career as secondary coach under the legendary Joe Paterno at Penn State.

During his time in Happy Valley (1985-90), Dickerson helped the Nittany Lions post a 53-17 record, including a 12-0 mark and a stirring, 14-10, Fiesta Bowl win over Miami (Fla.) to claim the 1987 National Championship. Four of his defensive backs went on to earn All-America honors and seven played in the NFL.

Dickerson moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1991, taking over as defensive coordinator at Clemson, where he orchestrated one of the best defensive units in the storied programs' history in his first season.

The 1991 Tigers won the program's last ACC title with a 9-1 regular season mark. That season, Dickerson's defense ranked No. 1 nationally against the run (61.0 ypg), No. 4 nationally in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense. Seven of the top 10 tacklers on that 1991 defense went on to play in the NFL, including Ed McDaniel, Levon Kirkland, Chester McGlockton, Brenston Bucker and Wayne Simmons - with McGlockton and Simmons developing into first round picks. McDaniel, Kirkland and McGlockton each went on to play in the Pro Bowl. In 1992, Dickerson coached future NFL Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins, who was a freshman on that team.

Dickerson was a three-year letterwinner at Kansas State, and still ranks third on the school's single-season list with 19 passes defended in 1970. He also ranks among the school's leaders with 162 career interception return yards (eight career interceptions), and was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game following his senior season. Dickerson's head football coach as a four-sport star at Coraopolis (Pa.) High was future NFL head coach Foge Fazio.

Dickerson graduated from Kansas State in 1971 with a degree in Physical Education. He and his wife, Jeannie, were married on February 1, 1969. They are the proud parents of two children, Ron, Jr., and Rashawn, and four grandchildren.




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