Scott Frost is welcoming a familiar face back to his football coaching staff. Nebraska announced Thursday that Mike Dawson will return to Lincoln to coach outside linebackers. He takes the place left by Jovan Dewitt, who recently departed for North Carolina.
"I am thrilled to bring Mike Dawson back to Nebraska to re-join our coaching staff," Frost said in a release Thursday morning. "Coach Dawson has a great history with our coaching staff and brings all of the attributes we look for in an assistant coach. He is a man of great character, has outstanding defensive acumen and knowledge of our defensive system, is a proven teacher and recruiter and relates well to his players."
Dawson previously coached Nebraska's defensive line during the 2018 season. He later departed for a role with New York Giants coaching the outside linebackers in the spring of 2019.
His deal runs through April 30, 2022. His starting base salary begins at $325,000 and rises $500,000 on March 1, 2021, and then again to $550,000 on Jan. 1, 2022. He is also due a $100,000 retention bonus if he's still at the school through the final day of his contract. Dawson originally made $475,000 annually as the Huskers’ defensive line coach.
Dawson returns to Nebraska as a 20-year coaching veteran, with stops at the Philadelphia Eagles, Central Florida, Akron and Boston College. As the outside linebackers coach with the Giants, Dawson helped Alec Ogletree and Markus Golden put together strong 2019 seasons despite the Giants' overall struggles. Ogletree, for example, ended the season with 80 tackles (48 solo), four tackles for a loss, one sack and one interception. Golden had 72 tackles (37 solo), 13 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks and one fumble recovery.
Frost now brings that experience—and Dawson's familiarity with the staff—back to Nebraska. And with coaches set to hit the recruiting trail on Thursday, it couldn't have come at a better time.
"I am excited to rejoin Coach Frost and the rest of the Nebraska staff in Lincoln," Dawson said. "The opportunity to coach at a school with Nebraska's football tradition and commitment is special. I am fired up to represent the N, and sell Husker Football and the University of Nebraska to young men around the country.
"Our family fell in love with Nebraska during our one year here. The passion of the fans and the culture Coach Frost has brought is extraordinary. We look forward to making it home again."
Nebraska also announced the contract extensions for assistant coaches Greg Austin, Travis Fisher and Ryan Held. Their contracts now run through Dec. 31, 2021. Austin added the title of Run Game Coordinator to his offensive line coach role, and Held added Recruiting Coordinator to his, alongside running backs coach.
Austin’s additional title did not come with a bump in pay, but Held and Fisher both received raises. Held got a $100,000 bump, bringing his base salary up to $400,000. Fisher is now set to make $450,000 annually, after a $125,000 raise.