NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson told Notre Dame student-athletes last week that the values they put into practice in school and athletic competition will help them professionally.
Dawson, who lettered in football at Notre Dame (1990-93) before playing in the NFL, was invited back to his alma mater by athletics director Jack Swarbrick and university president Father John Jenkins to deliver the keynote at a ceremony for the Monogram Club in which fall athletes were awarded their lettermen’s jackets.
The ceremony is an expansion of a long-held tradition from Dawson’s time as a student-athlete when measurements were taken and the athlete eventually received the jacket. Dawson’s jacket still fits, but rather than wearing it, he tries to apply the principles that the monogram stands for on a daily basis.
“What I wanted to kind of deliver to them was how special the University of Notre Dame is and what a great opportunity they have and they should try to make the most of that opportunity, both academically and athletically, and to really realize you’re not bigger than the cause, in terms of being a student-athlete there,” Dawson said.
Dawson said athletes who letter at Notre Dame share a special bond and a responsibility to themselves and to be a positive influence “because you’re accountable as a student-athlete and accountable to the people that came before you and the ones that are going to come after you.”
Dawson then correlated that with how principles of “faith, God, tradition, hard work, having a purpose and commitment to excellence” have helped in his personal life at Notre Dame, as pro player and as an executive in the NFL.
He said it was a humbling honor to speak at the ceremony and he is grateful that Swarbrick and Jenkins invited him to do so. (Click here to read more about the ceremony and see Dawson's speech).
“That meant a lot to me,” Dawson said. “I think I probably got more gratification out of that than they realized.”
Dawson said he also appreciated Titans general manager Ruston Webster allowing him to make the quick trip during the hyper-busy month of April that can be a blur for NFL personnel departments that are preparing for this year’s NFL Draft on April 25-27. Dawson made the most of the time away by visiting the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on Notre Dame’s campus for a moment of reflection.“I go to the Grotto every time I’m there and light a candle and pray,” Dawson said. “I don’t want to sound too corny or cliché-ish, but it’s a special place to me. I like to go there and have a time of peace and reflect on how God is good to me and my family, and the opportunities I’ve had.”