Dorothy Dawson receives Giegengack Award


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Dorothy Dawson, who has been active with USA Track & Field since its inception, was honored with the organization's Robert Giegengack Award Saturday evening at the Jesse Owens Awards and National Track & Field Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Virginia Beach, Va. The event was held in conjunction with the 2010 USATF Annual Meeting, which concludes on Sunday.

Named in honor of former Yale University coach and 1964 Olympic Team head coach Robert Giegengack, the award goes to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and success of USA Track & Field and the larger community of the sport. In the past, the award has gone to coaches, officials, Association leaders, administrators, and others from all segments of USATF. The USATF Board of Directors votes to select each year's winner.

Dawson was a delegate to USA Track & Field's Constitutional Convention in 1979. She currently serves on the National Youth Athletics Executive Committee, is Vice-Chair Administration/Treasurer, and is President of the USATF Illinois Association.

A former USATF Youth Regional Committee Chair, Dawson received a USATF President's Award in 1998 for her more than three decades of distinguished service. She was also recently honored when the Annual Dorothy Dawson Invitational was held for the first time on February 7, 2009 at Proviso West HS in Hillside, Ill., which serves as a youth meet, and a USATF Indoor Open and Masters Regional Championships.

Dawson was born in Columbus, Georgia, but after the death of her mother she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After a successful basketball career at Capitol High School, she received a full scholarship to play basketball at Grambling State University. She coached at two high schools in Louisiana, James Stephens High School and Webster High School of Minden, which won the State Championship under her direction. She then became a swimming instructor at Grambling State University for two years.

Dawson moved to Chicago in 1961 with her two children, Leonard and Bonnie. She began teaching at Dunbar Vocational High School and was the assistant principal for 17 years. She became the boy's track and field coach after the retirement of Coach Louis Tortereili, and was one of the first women to coach girl's basketball and track and field in Chicago. Dawson also coached volleyball and basketball at Dunbar Park of the Chicago Park District.

Dawson retired from Dunbar Vocational High School in 1997 after 35 years of service. She now serves on the Dunbar Local School Council and volunteers her time and resources to the Girls Track and Field and Cross Country Committee for Chicago Public Schools.


1979: Outstanding Teacher of the Year, McDonald's Association

1980: Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Bloom-Kulver Foundation; Leadership Award, The Ora Higgins Youth Foundation

1981: Coach of the Year, Northern Illinois Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association; Hall of Fame inductee, Northern Illinois Track and Field, Cross Country Association

1990: Sport Achievement Award, Institute for Athletics and Education

2001: Service Award, Illinois High School Association

2003: Hall of Fame Inductee, Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Association

2009: USATF Athletics for the Disabled Distinguished Service Award

For more information on the 2010 USATF Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach, visit: