For the past eight years, Dawson Odums has held the mantle of Southern University’s head coach, and has led the team to success that it hasn’t seen in decades on The Bluff.
In the grand scheme of Southern University coaches, the argument could be made that Odums could one day become the greatest. According to Coach Odums however, the talk of his legacy is more about the lives he’s been able to help and impact more than anything else.
“Really, I don’t lose focus of what’s the mission at hand. Although one day, you’ll look back on time and reflect on the accomplishments and what you were able to do, the biggest thing [for me] is being able to graduate these young men and give them a program that allows them to be successful. And I think we’ve been able to do that during our tenure here.” said Odums.
All the same, Odums tenure has produced an overall 50-27 record and multiple Bayou Classic victories. In the pantheon of great Southern University coaches, Coach Odums has a track record as accolade filled as any Southern University great.
Despite this recent success however, the rebuilding process wasn’t always as smooth as current records and standings indicate. Up until Odums first year as head coach, Southern had lost four straight Bayou Classics and recorded consecutive losing seasons.
“We were blessed and fortunate to be able to come in and win in our first year and give Jaguar Nation a taste of winning, and the taste of a championship,” said Odums.
Up to this point, the Jaguars have made the SWAC Championship game three years in Odums tenure, with the Jaguars claiming the title in 2013. According Coach Odums, he believes that his team is in a prime position to win a championship once again this season.
“It’s hard to be at the top; it’s hard to be consistent. How do you measure someone as a head coach: You look at the consistency in which they won. It’s hard to do; it’s to duplicate that success.” said Coach Odums on the day-to-day process of trying to maintain consistency from his players and team as a whole.
Odums continued on to say, “You need a process. Our process is being committed to the process and being disciplined...We don’t want losing to be the consequence [of us not be committed enough or disciplined]. It’s a constant effort to be great.”
With the SWAC being the most competitive it’s been in a while, this years Jaguar team’s consistency has played a role in the teams overall success on the field. As far as the competitive nature of the SWAC in general, Odums had this to say of the conference he currently sits at the western head of.
“I think that any given Saturday, anyone can win. You have to go out there with the right mindset and you have to get the right bounces.” said Odums.
For Coach Odums, his main focus is trying to get consistency from his team both on and off the field in the classroom and weight rooms. By holding his players to a high standard in the classroom as well as on the field, Odums stated that this has gotten the absolute most out of them.
“November has been about zero tolerance. We turn the dial up in November and we try to be consistent in our approach and what we’re doing. I think that’s why our players have been so successful.” said Odums.
Coming towards the end of the season, Coach Odums admit that the team is still a work in progress and that they will take advantage of these next few games to be consistent in all three phases.
The Jaguars will have a chance to prove they can duplicate their efficient play as they take on rival Jackson State before facing another rival Grambling in the Bayou Classic enroute to what the Jaguars hope to be another championship season.