Dawson keynotes AGHS sports awards

Posted 5/20/21

Alba-Golden is a small school. This year they will graduate 57 seniors. But that small school just up US 69 has a way of putting on hugely-meaningful events. 

Last Tuesday, in the Alba-Golden …

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Dawson keynotes AGHS sports awards


Alba-Golden is a small school. This year they will graduate 57 seniors. But that small school just up US 69 has a way of putting on hugely-meaningful events. 

Last Tuesday, in the Alba-Golden gym, the school honored their athletes from the 2020-21 school year. Anyone who has been to Alba-Golden gym knows that it is small enough to host an event which fills both sides of the bleachers, so was the case last week.  

With the students on one side and parents on the other, a full house was treated to the wisdom of Alba native and sporting legend, Carroll Dawson.

Dawson has been described as the Red Auerbach of the Houston Rockets NBA franchise. In fact, hanging in the rafters of Houston’s  Toyota Center is a banner with the initials “CD.” It is there because Dawson spent 32 years in the Houston Rockets organization, much of it as general manager. 

He helped steer the team through the 1994 and 1995 championships as an assistant coach. As general manager he was personally responsible for bringing Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady to the Rockets.  

As he described the winding path which led him to Houston – starting with his graduation from Alba High School in 1956 – he humbly recounted how “no juncture in my life ever worked out the way I wanted it to, but it all worked out.” 

From Alba to Paris Junior College to the US Army, Baylor University, the Dallas Cowboys and finally Houston, his path was influenced by people who always seemed to seek him out. 

Mixing stories into his address, such as founding the Houston Comets WNBA team (with an initial draft that included Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson), Dawson always returned to one theme. “Don’t cheat yourself, don’t settle, do your very best in all you undertake,” he advised.

He also recommended that young people seek out what they love. He recalled earning $400 a month at his first coaching job as an assistant at Baylor University. “I could have made a lot more money elsewhere,” he stated, “but I loved basketball.”

Dawson also described challenges such as losing much of his eyesight. Yet he never lost his humility, humor or drive. 

Clearly still proud of some of the close games he participated in between Alba High School and then rivals Golden High School, Dawson reflected that his life came, “a long way from loading watermelons in Alba.”

He challenged those soon to graduate to pursue excellence in all they do and fully engage in the life they have yet to build.

Following Dawson’s address, the stand-out athletes from this school year were recognized.

Athletic Director Drew Webster remarked, “Today is a great display of the hard work and dedication these kids and their families have shown this year.” 

After recognizing the Most Valuable Player (MVP) selections and special awardees, Webster concluded, “It is tremendously rewarding to wake up each day and work with these young people. They are building a legacy.”

MVP selectees were Hope Wiley (cheer), Joey Beck (cross country), Kalli Wright and Hope Wiley (volleyball), Ryan Jackson and Jerry Skinner (football), Kalli Wright and Bella Crawford (girls basketball), Boedy Baker, Will Hartin and Blake Weissert (basketball), Will Hartin and Annaliese Whitecotton (singles tennis), Austin Martin and Andres Camacho (boys tennis doubles), Bailey Pennington and Marissa Rojo (girls doubles tennis), Hope Wiley and Blake Weissert (golf), Nick Hallman and Bella Crawford (track), Chelton Cook and Jayden Green (baseball) and Kylie Kennedy and Skyler West (softball). 

Special awardees included Cacie Lennon and Ryan Jackson for the Fighting Heart award, Jade Cruz and Micah Smith for the Most Conscientious and Kayli Covey for the Macie Pendergrass Perseverance Award.  Bree Allie Rolen received the James Paul McDowell Memorial Award, while Nick Hallman and Rylee Wilcoxson received the Tom Cameron Award.

The Panther Shield of Honor selectees were Boedy Baker and Kalli Wright.