Eddie Dawson, an original inductee into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, was one of Windsor’s great secondary school basketball, track and field, and football coaches. As a basketball player, he was a two-time Canadian Senior Men’s champion and an Olympic silver medalist.
Dawson was born in Alford, Lincolnshire County in England on October 10, 1907. In his adoptive homeland of Canada, Dawson quickly warmed to our local games, at which he excelled from an early age. While he won the Ontario Junior Baseball Championship with the Windsor Blue Arrows in 1927, Dawson’s strongest sport was always basketball.
Dawson, a guard, developed a reputation as a floor leader on the basketball court. He won the Canadian Senior Championship twice, with the Windsor Alumni in 1928 and the Windsor Ford V-8s in 1936. The latter team was formally honoured by the National Association of Basketball Coaches of Canada.
Most impressively, Dawson was part of Canada’s Silver Medalist basketball squad at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The team lost 19-8 to the United States in the gold medal game.
Dawson also excelled on the court at the postsecondary level. He captained the Assumption College men’s basketball team, leading them to finish the 1931 season as Ontario Senior finalists. At the University of Detroit, where he played as a scholarship athlete, Dawson is remembered for sinking three clutch long-range shots to pull off a late-game victory over heavily favoured Loyola of Chicago.
In 1930, Dawson coached the Windsor Hyatt Juniors to the Ontario Junior Basketball finals, an early milestone in what would prove to be an extremely successful coaching career.
In 1932, Dawson began to teach and coach at Patterson Collegiate, his alma mater. He stayed in that role for 36 years. As a basketball, football, and track and field coach, Dawson was unpretentious, rigorous, and known to emphasize and expertly impart the necessary fundamentals of each sport. His Junior basketball teams dominated the sport in Windsor during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, winning numerous WSSA titles. Dawson also produced a long list of Divisional, Overall, and Individual track and field champions.
Dawson both played for and coached the Windsor Alumni in Canadian Senior Men’s finals. Just as his 1933 team fell to the Victoria Blue Ribbons in the final, the 1937 team he coached lost to the University of British Columbia.
Eddie Dawson passed away on October 24, 1968, shortly after his 61st birthday. He is remembered for his own accomplishments, but also through the litany of fine athletes he produced during his time at Patterson. Dawson’s protégés, some of whom are now Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Famers in their own right, include names like Willie Casanova, Jimmy Farmer, Max and Zeno Karcz, Tommy Grant, Harold Newton, Bill Rogin, Bob Simpson, Freddie Thomas, and Harry Wade.