Dave Clawson arrives in Knoxville as one of Division I football's rising stars.
His being named Tennessee's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was a signature moment for the Vols. Clawson became only the third individual to hold the position during Phillip Fulmer's 16 years as head coach and the first without previous Tennessee ties.
Clawson, who turns 41 in August, comes to UT after leading Richmond as head coach to its best season in school history. The Spiders' 11-3 campaign in 2007 ended only at the hands of three-time national titlist Appalachian State in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.
But Clawson has succeeded everywhere he's landed.
His two head coaching jobs (58-49 record) resurrected first Fordham, boosting a Rams program coming off 12 straight losing seasons into NCAA playoff participants, and then Richmond, which twice advanced to the postseason. Before that, Clawson called the offensive plays for another pair of Division I-AA powerhouses in Lehigh and Villanova. In fact, Clawson coached alongside new Vols assistant coach Stan Drayton for three years in the late 1990s during a successful Villanova football era.
Clawson twice has been named national Division I-AA coach of the year, winning once at Fordham and once at Richmond, and four times in the last seven years earned his league coaching honors. In 2005 and 2007, the Richmond Touchdown Club selected him College Coach of the Year over the likes of Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Virginia's Al Groh.
Quarterback development and pro production have been Clawson staples. Eight times in his 14 years as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, Clawson's quarterbacks earned all-conference honors. In addition, NFL regulars such as two-time 1,000-yard rusher Brian Westbrook (Eagles), receiver Brian Finneran (Falcons), tailback Rabih Abdullah (Bucs, Bears and Patriots), quarterbacks Stacey Tutt (Jets) and Kevin Eakin (Bills), and defensive lineman Aki Jones (Redskins) have benefited from Clawson's system and tutelage.
This past spring, Richmond wide receiver Arman Shields was a fourth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders and tailback Tim Hightower was a fifth-round selection of the Arizona Cardinals.
Clawson has proven himself a program builder and offensive specialist.
His 19 combined victories during his final two years (2002-03) at Fordham were the most wins there in back-to-back seasons since 1918-19. Then he guided Richmond to the biggest two-year turnaround in Spider football's 124-year history, improving from 3-8 his first season of 2004 to 9-4 and an NCAA playoff berth the following year.
A native of Youngstown, N.Y., located on the shores of Lake Ontario just 30 minutes north of Buffalo, Clawson played defensive back in football and also basketball at Williams College in Massachusetts. He graduated in 1989, and then began a two-year assistant coaching stop at Albany. From there, he coached two years at Buffalo and three at Lehigh, including his first two years, 1994-95, as an offensive coordinator.
Clawson then was named offensive coordinator at Villanova, where Drayton and he helped establish 70 school records and led the Wildcats to the I-AA playoffs in 1996 and 1997. Under Clawson's tutelage, receiver Brian Finneran won the Walter Payton Award, given to I-AA's most outstanding player, and Brian Westbrook became the first student-athlete in NCAA history to gain more than 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a season.
Fulmer's coaching search began after the 2007 season when David Cutcliffe was named Duke's head coach. Cutcliffe and Randy Sanders, both of whom coached on the UT staff before their promotions, were the only previous offensive coordinators during Fulmer's 16 years at the Vols helm.
Clawson is married to the former Catherine Ewald. They have a daughter, Courtney, and a son, Eric.
Aug. 16, 1967, Lewiston, N.Y.
NCAA POSTSEASON COACHING HISTORY