In late January, the University of West Georgia was faced with the task of filling a vacancy as head football coach. The job wasn’t vacant very long. David Dean was available; ready, willing, and eager to become UWG’s 11th head football coach of the modern era.
Dean brings a resume to the UWG post that rivals almost any coach in the nation, at any level. Dean is this season entering his 30th season in the coaching profession, his ninth at West Georgia. There is one common thread to his 29 previous seasons: David Dean is a winner.
The former wide receiver at Georgia Tech was a key staff member at Valdosta State from 1988-1991. He next spent eight seasons on the staff at UWG, an era that saw the program experience a large number of firsts. That includes the first winning season at the Division II level, the first NCAA D-II Playoff berth, and the program’s first two Gulf South Conference titles.
Dean departed UWG following the 1999 season, joining the staff of Chris Hatcher at Valdosta Sate. He spent seven seasons as the Blazers’ offensive coordinator, a run that included the 2004 NCAA Division II Championship.
In 2007 Dean ascended to the head coaching post at VSU. He had to assemble a coaching staff almost from the ground up as all but one fellow staff member moved on. The results were positive as Valdosta State posted a 13-1 and won the program’s second national championship.
Five years later, Dean was back in the winner’s circle again. This time the Blazers lost twice in the regular season, but they were untouchable in the playoffs, averaging 42 points a game during a postseason run to a second national title.
How rare is a second national championship? Consider that college football has been played in the state of Georgia since the 1890s. During that time only three football coaches in the state have won multiple national titles. Erskine Russell won three FCS title at Georgia Southern, while Paul Johnson followed him in Statesboro with a pair of crowns of his own.
The other coach on that very exclusive list is David Dean.
Dean’s run as head coach at Valdosta State covered nine seasons. Beyond the two national crowns, his Blazer teams posted an impressive record of 79-27, including a mark of 42-19 in games played with the nation’s best Division II conference, the Gulf South. His teams advanced to the NCAA Playoffs six times, and Dean’s postseason head coaching record is 12-4.
The success of Dean’s Valdosta State program resulted in numerous individual plaudits. He captured American Football Coaches Association Division II Coach of the Year honors following both national titles. He was also named 2007 Coach of the Year by Schutt Sports, AFCA Regional Coach of the Year, and GSC Coach of the Year in 2010.
Beyond his individual success, Dean’s VSU players captured the highest of honors. His VSU teams had 18 Division II All-America selections, while 10 players signed National Football League contracts. Dean also coached three players who earned GSC Freshman of the Year honors, two league players of the year, and one national defensive player of the year.
Clearly, David Dean has been linked to success throughout his 30-year coaching career. At UWG or at UWG’s biggest rival, the results are irrefutable: David Dean is a winner. His teams win and his program flourishes.
As Dean begins his first season at UWG, he is following the most successful three-year run in the history of the Wolves’ program. Few coaches have the gravitas to continue, and even increase that level of success.
Dean is a native of DeKalb County in the metro Atlanta area. He was born in Decatur, and enjoyed a stellar high school career for the Avondale Blue Devils. Dean arrived at Georgia Tech as a walk-on in 1982, but was awarded a scholarship the following season. He played wide receiver for the Jackets through the 1985 campaign.
Married to the former Stacie Stott, the Deans have three daughters: Caroline (20), Allison (18), and Natalie (12).