Johnny Dawkins the person is someone who would do anything to help another person. He is a kind man and a smart man. He graduated from Duke in 1986 with a B.A. in Political Science. He has grown into a man that as a father or mother you hoped your daughter married. He has a lovely wife and 4 children. Johnny Dawkins the family man will never hear a bad word out of my mouth.
Johnny Dawkins the basketball player was someone who you wanted to be. He was a 4-year starter at Duke under the great Coach K and was a Freshman All-American. He was the team MVP all four seasons at Duke. During his senior year, He was co-captain, First-team All-ACC, Consensus All-American and the Naismith National Player of the Year. He did the exact same thing a man by the name of Michael Jordan did only two years prior. Dawkins was drafted in the 1st round of the 1986 NBA Draft and had a serviceable career. His #24 has since been retired at Duke University.
Even Johnny Dawkins the assistant coach has been a part of some special things. From 1998-2008, Duke won the conference SEVEN times. Johnny D had not missed a single March Madness. He missed the Sweet Sixteen ONE time. He was a part of 3 Final Fours, 1 runner-up and in 2001, a National Championship. Yes, Coach Krzyzewski was the head coach but Dawkins had brought a lot to the table and was a player and coach favorite.
This brings me to Johnny Dawkins, the Head Coach at Stanford University or if you want to get official, the Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men's Basketball. When he came to Stanford in 2008, Stanford was coming off of a 2nd place finish in the conference, a Sweet Sixteen loss, and the Lopez twins headed off to the NBA. The program was not in shambles. The Lopez twins leaving early definitely hurt but the team was in a good place, the program was in a good place.
Stanford started off the Dawkins era with 10 straight wins. This looked like a match made in nerd heaven. Then conference play happened. Stanford lost 9 of its last 13 and ended up in 9th place in the conference. Stanford finished the season 20-14, only 8 losses less than the previous season and although it wasn't the important tournament, Stanford did make a postseason berth in the CBI. Johnny gets a break for a first season meltdown.
The next two seasons foreshadowed what was going to happen to Stanford for the majority of the Dawkins era. In 2010 and 2011 Stanford went 29-34 overall and 14-22 in conference with an 8th and 7th place finish. This was the first time since 85-86 that Stanford had failed to make a postseason berth in consecutive years. Having 3 years to continue the success that Mike Montgomery and Trent Johnson left with should have been enough. Dawkins combined record 49-48, 1 game over .500 is not acceptable. Dawkins should have been fired on his 20-34 conference record alone but hey at least it wasn't as bad as Dick Dibiaso.
The hope was gone for Stanford basketball entering the 2011-12 season but something different was happening on the farm. Stanford basketball was WINNING.... And it wasn't just the women's team. Johnny D had a young team with his recruits and they were out for blood. Stanford started the season off 5-0, had tough losses to up and coming Butler and Oregon but at one point was 15-3. Just like Jim Harbaugh brought an "enthusiasm unknown to mankind" to the football program, Johnny was finally bringing something to the table and it wasn't just leftover lasagna. Stanford still only finished 7th in the league but they went 10-8 in a very tough conference. They had 20 wins before the conference tourney even started. Stanford was a bubble team and although they didn't get into the big dance, they showed the committee that they should have been invited as they won the N.I.T. tournament. It's not something to have a parade over but it looked like Dawkins had finally found his was at Stanford and with a young core, the 2012-13 season was going to be their oyster.
Let's just cut out the fat of the upcoming season. There was no March Madness bid. There was no surprise run at the conference. Stanford went 19-15 and was 9-9 in conference. Stanford basketball had returned to the depths of .500 basketball and this was the true season Dawkins, although once again is a great man, husband, father, former player, etc.... should have been fired.
Dawkins who seemed to be on the hot seat at the beginning of the following year once again pulled the rabbit out of his hat. Stanford made a conference title run and finished 3rd, had 23 wins, and for the first time in his head coaching career, finally brought Stanford to the Big Dance. Stanford fans were just happy to be there and possibly a 1st round loss would have made things easier for JD but life doesn't work that way. Stanford upset the Mountain West Conference Tournament Champions in New Mexico. The win was great for Stanford but most figured their Round of 32 game versus Kansas would be it. Queue the little Kansas boy crying on CBS. Stanford had upset the 2nd seeded Kansas Jayhawks and Johnny Dawkins was turning into the Golden Child. Unfortunately, Stanford lost a tough game to Dayton but there was not a single person who was mad at the season, the program, or even Johnny D. This felt like Stanford was FINALLY going to push through and get over that hump. The team was returning, the recruits were highly-touted, but like his first year and the N.I.T. Championship year, the next season was going to continue the torture.
As Stanford was being pummeled into the ground like a Ronda Rousey opponent in the 2nd half versus Utah, it should have been the final straw for Stanford AD Bernard Muir. Johnny Dawkins is a class act and is a Stanford man but he just isn't the right guy to be the Stanford basketball coach. As Stanford sat at 15-5 with only a game behind the leaders, Stanford went into a downward spiral that they still might be on. Since that point, Stanford has gone 4-8 in its last 12 games with losses to the 2 worst teams in the conference. They've averaged giving up 76 points per game during that slide and were outscored 46-17 in the 2nd half vs. Utah. No disrespect to Utah who is a great team and I wish the best of luck to in the tourney but I don't care if John Wooden was coaching that team, you should not get embarrassed like that especially on a NEUTRAL court.
Johnny, I love ya and want to thank you for what you have done but it's time.... I know you will still have a postseason game, most likely in the N.I.T. but you've accomplished something that hasn't been done in almost 35 years and not in the good way. Best of luck to you.