Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hannah Dawson: A Selfless Leader

Hannah Dawson: A Selfless Leader

The life of any college student-athlete is hectic. Having to juggle a full class load with the demands of playing a sport at the Division I level is never easy. There are certain majors that make it even harder on a student-athlete. Hannah Dawson, a senior forward on the Samford women's basketball team, is majoring in nursing and says the hardest part of playing a sport and being in a demanding major like nursing is time management.
In addition to her normal class schedule, along with practices, games and weight training for basketball, she has to spend time working at a local hospital as well.
“You have all of this time that you have to spend studying, time you have to spend in the hospital working for clinical and then once you get done with that you have to go to practice or travel to one of the games,” Dawson said. “The hardest part is just trying to figure out when's the best time to study and still go in the gym and work hard to make sure that you are up to standards for basketball.”
She has to work at UAB Hospital two days a week from 6:30 a.m. until about 3 p.m. She then has practice before spending time at night studying.
Dawson said, despite all of the time demands, being a nurse is something she has always wanted to do.
“I have known since I was a little girl that nursing was what I wanted to do,” Dawson said. “So once I came to Samford I automatically majored in nursing and from day one, I was ready for it.”
Dawson says the reason she wanted to become a nurse is simply that she wanted to find a way to help people.

“It's just that I want to care for people and help people feel better,” Dawson said. “I just wanted to nurture people and I felt like that was the best route to go.”

Dawson said, like nursing, basketball is also something she has wanted to do since she was a very little girl.

“I was four years old when I started playing,” Dawson said.  “My dad has inspired me so much to play basketball. He was a basketball coach, and he coached my sister. So just growing up around him in the gym always watching him coach and always watching my two sisters and my brother play I just developed that passion at really young age to want to be out there on the court and playing.”

Dawson continued playing basketball as she grew up and eventually became a standout on her Shelbyville Central High School team in Shelbyville, Tenn. She was named her team's Most Valuable Player as a senior. She was also named to the All-Region team, and she won her team's 100 Percent Hustle Award in each of her final three years on the team.

When the time came for her to decide where to go to college, Dawson said she was a little reluctant to look at Samford, but once she visited campus, it was an easy decision.

“At first, I really wasn't sure about Samford, but my mom just kept saying that I needed to go look at it,” Dawson said. “So once I got on campus I loved the environment, I loved the coaches, I loved the players and I really felt like this was where God was leading me. I felt like this is the exact place I needed to be to grow and develop as not only a person, but as a player and to get to where I am right now.”
As a freshman in the 2009-10 season, Dawson made an immediate impact on the team, earning a starting position in her first season in a Samford uniform. She says being immediately put in the starting lineup was a little stressful for her as a freshman.
“It was a lot of pressure because you're just trying to learn all of the plays immediately so you are ready that first game to play,” Dawson said. “And you always don't want to mess up. But you just have to learn that that is a part of the game. There are always mess ups, and I just had to learn at the beginning that it's going to be okay, as long as you work hard and give it your all then it's okay.”
Over her three seasons so far at Samford, Dawson has seen action in 98 games, starting 94 of those games. She has started in the only four national postseason games in program history. As a freshman, Dawson and the Bulldogs reached the WNIT, defeating Ole Miss in the first round before falling at Missouri State in the second round. For the last two seasons, Samford has won the Southern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament.
Dawson added that, as a senior and a leader on this year's team, she does feel some pressure to finish with another strong season.
“It does put a little bit of pressure on this year, because we are a younger team, we have five new players,” Dawson said. “We just have to make sure we grow and develop into the team we can be and we have been in the past. There's pressure in that, but it's completely doable. We did it the past two years, we can do it this year.”
Over the last three seasons, Dawson has been one of the hardest working and selfless players in the SoCon.  She has also developed into a strong leader for her teammates.
“I want to be remembered as a hard worker, a dedicated team member and friend,” Dawson said when asked how she wants to be remembered by her teammates. “Also that every day I did everything I could to glorify God, and live out what He wanted me to do. It's not to try to get all of the glory for me, it's just for Him. Because if it wasn't for Him, I wouldn't be where I am right now.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Schedule is OUT!!!

Below is the story that was released today on our schedule for the upcoming season! You can also go to for more info on the season and all things Samford Women's Basketball!!!

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Games at Florida State, Clemson, Auburn and Oregon highlight the 2012-13 Samford women's basketball schedule, released by Head Coach Mike Morris on Tuesday.
“Generally, our philosophy in scheduling has been to play a tough non-conference schedule as we get ready for conference play,” Morris said. “Auburn, Florida State and Clemson present great challenges for us, and I think our players enjoy playing the bigger schools. Also, we try to have at least one nice trip where we go to a different part of the country. We're flying out to play at Oregon, which is a completely different style of play, and we're excited about that game and trip. Hopefully, that prepares us for a very tough conference schedule.”
In addition to the games against ACC, SEC and Pac-12 teams, Samford will also play a full schedule in the always tough Southern Conference.
“I think, going into this season, the conference is as balanced as it's been,” Morris said. “I think, more so than any other year we've been in the conference, I think there are five or six teams that are very capable of winning the conference regular-season and tournament. It is going to be a very good league, and there are no nights off with any of the teams, and we're looking forward to the challenge.”
The Bulldogs tip off the season with a game at Florida State on Nov. 11. The contest, which is a rematch of the teams' 2011 NCAA Tournament first round game, is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (CT) start from Tallahassee, Fla. Samford will next travel to in-state rival Jacksonville State on Nov. 19.
Samford will once again host the Samford Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 23-24. On the opening day of the tournament, UAB will take on Tennessee State and Samford will play host to Alabama State. The Bulldogs will take on Tennessee State, and Alabama State and UAB will play on the final day of the classic.
On Nov. 27, Samford will play host to Auburn-Montgomery, before opening Southern Conference play with back-to-back home games against Wofford on Dec. 1 and Furman on Dec. 3.
The Bulldogs will then play their next six games on the road. Samford will open the stretch by travelling to former Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee Tech on Dec. 6
Samford will then close out the 2012 portion of its schedule with games at Oregon on Dec. 18, Clemson on Dec. 22 and Auburn on Dec. 29.
The Bulldogs will open 2013 with two road SoCon games, travelling to Elon on Jan. 5, and UNC Greensboro on Jan. 7.
Samford will return home for the first time in over a month when the Bulldogs play host to College of Charleston on Jan. 12. The Bulldogs will then host Georgia Southern on Jan. 14.
The Bulldogs then play at Western Carolina on Jan. 18 and at Davidson on Jan. 20. Next up, Samford will play host to Chattanooga on Jan. 23 and Appalachian State on Jan. 28.
Samford will spend its next three games on the road, travelling to Wofford on Feb. 2, Furman on Feb. 4 and Chattanooga on Feb. 6. The Bulldogs will then play host to back-to-back games against UNC Greensboro on Feb. 9 and Elon on Feb. 11.
Next up for Samford will be road games at Georgia Southern on Feb. 16 and College of Charleston on Feb. 18.
Samford's final two home games will be against Davidson on Feb. 23 and Western Carolina on Feb. 25. The Bulldogs will wrap up the regular season with a game at Appalachian State on Mar. 4.
The Bulldogs will attempt to win their third-straight SoCon Tournament title when the event is held, Mar. 8-11 in Asheville, N.C.
For ticket information for the 2012-13 women's basketball season, please contact the Samford ticket office at 205-726-DOGS, or visit the Samford athletics website,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Homecoming is getting closer and we are all excited about the events of the weekend on campus! Below is a tentative schedule of events!...

7:00pm: Red/Blue Scrimmage (Pete Hanna Arena)
             - Come catch a sneak peak at what your 2012-2013 Bulldogs will look like in action! 

8:00pm: Alumni Game (Pete Hanna Arena)
             - Stay and watch our "old timers" re-live their past in our fourth annual alumni game!

10:30am: Homecoming Parade
             - Your 2011-2012 SoCon Tournament Championship team will be riding!!!

12:00pm: Tailgate on the Quad
             - We will be out with the Samford Strong tailgating on the quad! Feel free to drop in!

2:00pm: Football game vs Appalachian State
             - Our 2011-2012 SoCon Tournament Championship team will be receiving their rings!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hannah Dawson: A Year to Look Forward to...

A Year to Look Forward to...

This coming up year is going to be an EXCITING one for me. My senior year is quickly approaching and my Samford days are sadly dwindling. There are multiple new rolls that I will have to take on and I couldn’t be more ready. This year we are welcoming a handful of freshman and all of us are ready to start this season and work towards another championship season. In preparation for this coming up year, I have been on campus the entire summer (minus a few vacations here and there), working out four days a week. All the girls on campus have been working hard to be prepared for the fall preseason and season. 

For me the fall semester (school wise) will be filled with going to the hospital and taking care of adorable children at children’s hospital, then going out into the community to different community health centers and taking care of patients there. In the spring I will begin my journey of critical care, management and senior seminar (ahh crazy to think I am graduating this year). I will then begin applying for jobs in the “real world”, beginning my preceptorship (I go into the hospital on my own, no teachers, and work with a nurse trying to complete 190 hours before I graduate) and then, I GRADUATE IN MAY!!! 

 During this entire time I will be trying to make as many memories that I can pack into my senior year, with the most amazing friends God could have ever placed into my life and competing day in and day out to go for a third straight conference championship and NCAA appearance. These past three years flew by faster than I ever imagined. I never thought this day would come and sadly in a blink of an eye my time here at Samford is ending. I hope that this year is the best year that I have. I pray I make a lasting impression as a senior leader to my other teammates and live a life that would be pleasing to God.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Looking Forward...

Senior year is here! I am so excited that I've made it this far and I am looking forward to this season. We have a new assistant coach in Jaz Powers! Which I am so excited for! I am not only happy for her because I think this is a great opportunity for her, but I am also happy for our other remaining coaches because they have a great tool in Coach Powers and get to use her for her knowledge of the things that she experienced being a player here at Samford. I think that with the four of them, we have yet another opportunity to win our conference tournament for a third time in a row and make it to the NCAA tournament again. 

I am most excited about making it to this point in my life. I mean not every high school athlete gets to make it to this level of basketball and for me to be here for my senior year, is amazing. It has been a long hard journey, but the fact that I made it through makes me feel that I can accomplish anything that gets thrown my way. This year is going to be my best year as I continue to get tougher on and off the court. I am not letting any obstacles stop me from reaching any of my goals in the classroom as well as on the court. I will be the toughest and the hardest working player that I have ever been in my career and I am looking forward to showing everybody what I am really capable. I think by doing this I can show my team that even though I am not much of a vocal leader, I can make up for that through my actions on the court as well as off the court. I definitely have not been in this alone. Along with my two other fellow seniors, Kylie and Hannah, we are all in this thing together. The three of us have accomplished so much since our freshmen year. We were able to be apart of  a team who truly loved each other and were able to come together when it really mattered and win not 1, but 2 championships.

I am looking forward to coming together again and winning the whole thing yet again. To sum it up, I'd like to say that this is our motto for this upcoming season: New year, New opportunities, Same outcome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Strength!!!

Looking back through emails and notes and papers on my desk, I came across a blog written by Christy Robinson last summer... Christy will be a junior for us this season and has put in the work every day since she arrived on campus two years ago. She holds a 3.98 GPA in nursing and will be a key component to this years team! While it probably mirrors the work being done this summer by her and her teammates, it is also the reflection of all that she has done in her two years here at Samford and I wanted to share what she wrote.

"Coming into my sophomore season, I knew what my main goal was: get stronger.  The post play in high school was not even close to the same level as the physical play in the post in college.  I struggled with this aspect of the game my freshman year and decided to work as hard as I could to change it.  Now, I know that I will never become a professional body builder, it’s obvious that is not in my genes.  However, this summer was my opportunity to really workout hard and gain some muscle.  I spent my entire summer at Samford taking classes and working out.  This took quite a bit of dedication because when my alarm clock went off at 5:30am every single weekday morning, my first thought was always “why am I doing this to myself?” There was no other place I would rather be at that moment than in my bed.  I knew this would be a struggle when I made the decision to stay both summer terms.  Coach Morris, along with our strength coach at the time Felicia, encouraged me to stay.  Looking back, I am very glad I did because I feel as if I have benefited tremendously. 
            To put it lightly, the workouts were tough.  The warm-ups could be a workout for most normal people as they left me covered in sweat before the real fun even began. We would lift three days a week with some agilities and then focus on conditioning the other two days.  On a few Thursday mornings, we met at the new sand volleyball court to have our workouts.  These days might have been some of the toughest days of my life.  We had to do sprints, shuffles, bear crawls and various other agility exercises in the sand which quadruples the difficulty factor.  Most days we did manage to have some fun in the sand with some competitions such as tug-of war and a wheelbarrow race.  Needless to say, when we left we were covered from head to toe in sand.  Overall though, we had a lot of fun and I truly enjoyed it. 
            I had to keep a food journal to keep track of everything that I put into my body to eat or drink.  It turns out that I was not eating enough to gain weight since the amount of energy I used daily was so high.  This is where Muscle Milk came into play.  As many on the team know, Muscle Milk was not at the top of my list for favorite snack.  My first ever protein shake took me about 30 minutes to drink.  That time has been cut down slightly although I still feel as though I had to force it down my throat some days.  Even though I did not enjoy drinking protein shakes or waking up at the crack of dawn every morning, it helped me improve physically for the upcoming season.  Comparing this preseason to my freshman preseason, I have made leaps and bounds.  A year ago, I could hardly even hold a side plank for more than ten seconds.  These summer workouts have really challenged me physically and mentally, but I feel as if they will really pay off for me.  I understand that my goal cannot be accomplished in just one summer, but it has put me one step closer in the right direction.  I feel as if this quote summarizes all the hard work that I put into my summer, “I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday.”- Anonymous. "
 -Christy Robinson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2011-2012 Banquet

Last week we celebrated the end of a wonderful year with our annual team banquet! With a full house our seniors delivered their final message in our tradition of "Senior Speeches" and every player was presented with a framed display of all of their achievements from the past season along with their NCAA watches and plaques from the SoCon Tournament! It was a great night filled with highlights of this past season and we were so thrilled that everyone came out to celebrate an amazing group of young women! 

As Coach Morris said last year... IT'S GREAT TO BE A BULLDOG!!!