Staff changes among the Kentucky Wildcats football staff were expected, and now we know one of the moves being made.
According to WKYT, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson is leaving the school after one season in Lexington. The report says Dawson will not return, though does not specify whether Brown's departure was voluntary. A UK spokesman says the school is not confirming this report.
Sources have previously told A Sea of Blue that Dawson was given the opportunity to stay at Kentucky, but also was free to look elsewhere if he wanted to leave after a disastrous first season in Lexington.
Dawson came to Kentucky last season after being the offensive coordinator at West Virginia for three years. Running a fast-paced attack averaging 85 plays per game, West Virginia ranked 11th in the nation in total offense while averaging 502.1 yards per game and ninth nationally in passing offense with 314.6 yards per game. The Mountaineers tallied 33.2 points per game and set a school record by scoring at least 30 points in eight consecutive games before Dawson left for UK.
It looked like the perfect hire for Kentucky after they lost Neal Brown, who left after two seasons as OC to become Troy's head coach. Dawson, like Brown, was a disciple of the Air Raid offense of former UK coach Hal Mumme. Dawson worked with Mumme for two seasons (2003-2004) at Southeastern Louisiana and at New Mexico State in 2005. Since then, Dawson took a coordinator job at Division III Millsaps College and later FCS Stephen F. Austin before starting his four-year stint at West Virginia
But Dawson also had a reputation of making the run game a more focal point in his offense. WVU finished 2014 ranked 45th nationally in rushing offense compared to UK's 79th-ranked ground game in Brown's final season.
However, Dawson didn't have full control of WVU's offense as head coach Dana Holgorsen has done most of the play-calling during his tenure in Morgantown. That led to a lot of uncertainty as to whether Dawson could effectively call plays for the UK in the SEC, and he never managed to show he could in fact accomplish that.
UPDATE 11:53 am EST
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports is now reporting Dawson confirms he is out as UK's OC:
BREAKING #Kentucky OC Shannon Dawson is out as OC, he tells @FoxSports. Philosophically things weren’t working out.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 17, 2015