LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Dermontti Dawson, an
All-Southeastern Conference guard at Kentucky and one of the greatest centers in the
history of the National Football League, will have his number 57 UK jersey retired during
the season-opening game vs. Louisville on Sept. 1. The announcement was made by
Larry Ivy, UK Director of Athletics, at the annual UK Kickoff Luncheon held Friday at the
Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Dawsons story is that of the hometown hero. He
is a product of Lexingtons Bryan Station High School, where he was an all-state
lineman. He played guard and center at UK. He was a four-year letterman from
1984-87 and played for the 84 Hall of Fame Bowl championship team. He was
named All-SEC following his senior season and was a second-round draft choice of the
Dawson achieved national acclaim during his 13-year pro
career, all spent with the Steelers from 1988-2000. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl
selection from 1992-98. His effectiveness was matched by his durability, as he
played in 170 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Steelers history.
He played in 184 total games in his career, the fifth-highest mark in team history.
This is a big honor and Im very excited,
Dawson said. When I heard about it, I was really shocked, but very happy.
This is one of those unexpected things that come along. Not a lot of players
get their jerseys retired.
Dawson is happy to be back in Lexington on a more permanent
basis. He has maintained an off-season home here with his wife Regina (also a UK
grad) and their two children.
Its nice to be back. Its the first
time since college that Ive been in Lexington full-time, Dawson said.
I havent been able to keep up with UK football in person and Im
looking forward to that.
When reflecting on his UK playing career, thoughts of one
man come to the forefront of Dermonttis mind -- Coach Jerry Claiborne.
I thank Coach Claiborne for what he did while I was
at UK, Dawson said. Coach Claiborne talked about two things all the time
-- character and discipline. Ive tried to carry those things with me. He
inspired me to play my best and be the best person I could be.
Dawson becomes the 45th former Wildcat player or
coach to have his jersey retired. Previous honorees include George Adams, Ermal
Allen, Sam Ball, Calvin Bird, Rodger Bird, George Blanda, Paul Bear Bryant,
Warren Bryant, Jerry Claiborne, Blanton Collier, Sonny Collins, Ray Correll, Tim Couch,
Bob Davis, Joe Federspiel, Bob Gain, Irv Goode, Mark Higgs, Tom Hutchinson, Clyde Johnson,
Wallace Wah Wah Jones, John Shipwreck Kelly, Ralph Kercheval, Rick
Kestner, Jim Kovach, Dicky Lyons, Charlie McClendon, Steve Meilinger, Lou Michaels, Doug
Moseley, Rick Norton, Rick Nuzum, Vito Babe Parilli, Derrick Ramsey, Jay
Rhodemyre, Dave Roller, Howard Schnellenberger, Larry Seiple, Washington Wash
Serini, Bernie Shively, Art Still, Herschel Turner, Harry Ulinski, and Jeff Van Note.