UCF’s Johnny Dawkins Mentioned as Vanderbilt Candidate

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Getty Johnny Dawkins is reported to be a target of Vanderbilt.

Spec Sports’ Jon Alba reported that UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins is a target for the Vanderbilt coaching opening. The report comes days after Dawkins designed a brilliant gameplan to help put UCF within a tip-in of upsetting top-seeded Duke.

Multiple sources: #UCF coach Johnny Dawkins has emerged as a target for the #Vanderbilt job. Dawkins told @LHSportsTV yesterday he had not been contacted by anyone as of yet and was happy at UCF. Certainly interesting circumstances, including Aubrey Dawkins having a year left…How interested would Dawkins be in the job? That’s not known. But multiple sources indicate #Vanderbilt is very much interested, and how could it not be after the season #UCF had/the respect Dawkins has from others in the coaching spectrum.

It is unclear whether Dawkins would have interest in the opening. Dawkins has experience coaching in a bigger conference at Stanford, but the stint did not end well after he was fired in 2016. Spec Sports Luke Hetrick reported Dawkins noted he had not been contacted by another school, and Dawkins noted he “loves where I am.”

The expectation around the UCF program has been that Dawkins would be the long-term coach as he continues to build up the team. Dawkins signed a contract extension in 2018 through the 2023-24 season.

Aubrey Dawkins May Have Played Himself Into Being an NBA Draft Pick

Dawkins’ son, Aubrey Dawkins, plays on the UCF team. Heading into March Madness, he was not listed in the majority of top 100 big boards for the 2019 NBA draft, but his performance against Duke could have helped his stock. It will be interesting to see if the UCF wing played himself into the second round of the upcoming draft. If Dawkins does play one more season at UCF, it could be even more motivation for his father to stay in Orlando as well.

CSR’s Austin David reported that Vanderbilt and Alabama are “calling” for Dawkins. The UCF’s coach’s stock is high thanks to the Knights performance against Duke in the NCAA tournament. Dawkins noted UCF had Duke “on the ropes” but could not knock them out.

“To beat a team of that caliber; I always use boxing analogies with our team: I always tell our guys, you’re not going to out-point the champs; you have to knock champions out,” Dawkins said, per the Orlando Sentinel. “We were close. I thought we had them on the ropes, but we just couldn’t knock them out. They showed who they were. They showed their character. Look, they have a once-in-a-generation player in Zion Williamson. Some of the plays he made put them in that position. Give them credit. He made plays, quite frankly. that I haven’t seen a college basketball player make in a long time.”

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