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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Red Dawson

(Born December 20, 1906) -- The number of people who remember the 1940’s version of the Buffalo Bills - the ones in the All-American Football Conference - is obviously small. That means Lowell “Red” Dawson is becoming more obscure as that team’s coach.

Dawson did a bit of traveling in his life. He was born in Minnesota but played his college football at Tulane from 1929 to 1931. The pro ranks weren’t too tempting back then, so Dawson turned to coaching for his football fix.

He was an assistant at Minnesota under the legendary Bernie Bierman for four seasons, and then became the head coach at his alma mater in 1936. Dawson coached the first college football game in War Memorial Stadium history against Colgate that year. He stayed through 1941, where he had a record of 36-19-4. Dawson had one more year as an assistant at Minnesota before he took a break, probably because of World War II.

The AAFC arrived in 1946, and the Bills came with them. Buffalo went 19-25-4 in the next four years, getting as close as the league championship game in 1948. The Cleveland Browns were too much for everyone in that league, including the Bills.

Dawson eventually landed as the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He went 9-11-1 there, and left football to work for Gulf Oil.

--- Budd Bailey

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