KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As a member of the NFL Hall of Fame both as a player and broadcaster Len Dawson is a part of a select group. So is the group of recipients of the annual Len Dawson Scholarship.
It wasn’t just something with his name on it, but also one of his passions.
Dawson, 87, passed away Wednesday. Kansas City Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt reflected on his six decades with the Chiefs and talked about a Len Dawson not everyone got to know.
“Some people are going to remember him as a player, others will remember him as a broadcaster, but I hope everybody in Kansas City will remember him as someone who embraced the city and really spent his entire life trying to make Kansas City a better place to live work and play,” Hunt said.
Hunt followed his father in joining Dawson each year to help award the annual Len Dawson Scholarship. In 2013 that winner was St. Thomas Aquinas grad Julie Bride. The award came with a signed ball and personal tour of Arrowhead led by “Lenny the Cool” himself.
“We were able to have a much fuller conversation than just sports ,which is still the highlight and the pinnacle of what I got to have with him, but being able to talk about life experiences and the future was really incredible,” Bride said.
Bride said Dawson wanted to know about her education plans. She got an engineering degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology where she also played soccer.
“It gave me bragging rights because I could always say Len Dawson has my back and people would take me seriously. It gave me motivation and passion and I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for him giving me that scholarship and that opportunity,” she said.
Success stories 46 scholarship winners can tell, as important to them as everyone of Dawson’s touchdowns.
“When you step back and think about him in terms of Kansas City I think he’s synonymous with someone who cared about the community and finding ways to give back,” Hunt said.
The Chiefs plan to honor Dawson during Thursday night’s final pre-season game at Arrowhead. They’ll be taking on the Green Bay Packers, the team Dawson and the Chiefs played in the first ever Super Bowl, a game credited with helping make the NFL what it is today.
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