Editor’s note: This is the second in a four-part series featuring each of the Illinois FCS head coaches. This series, which will run every other Wednesday, focuses on each coach’s favorite teams and athletes as he grew up.
Kim Dameron's coaching career has taken him to many places: to the Deep South in locales such as Louisiana and Mississippi; to western stations such as UNLV; to the frozen tundras of the Canadian Football League; and to eastern ivy of Cornell University.
But, before all of that packing and unpacking, Dameron grew up in Rogers, Ark. where he excelled in football, basketball and track. He was inducted into his hometown's high school hall of fame this year.
“I was a Dallas Cowboys fan because I grew up in Arkansas," the 57-year-old head coach told Prairie State Pigskin.
Yet, his favorite college football player wasn't a Razorback.
"This one is really going to mess with you because even though I was in Arkansas, my favorite was (running back) Steve Wooster from the University of Texas," Dameron said. "I was little then. I don’t know why that was, maybe it was because they did that ‘Woo . . . '"
It should come as no surprise that Dameron embarked on a coaching career. After all, it was part of his family history. In addition, since he was a multi-sport athlete, it only makes sense that his heroes would come from different seasons.
“My dad was a basketball coach, and I grew up when it was Jerry West," Dameron said. "Some of my favorites were Marvin Delph, Ron Brewer and Sidney Moncrief, because you grow up in Arkansas and that’s 'The Triplets.' They’re like royalty--still! Those were three huge heroes when I was growing up."
Yet, even as much as he enjoyed basketball, his first love was football. Many of his favorite athletes played the marquee position of the sport.
“The quarterbacks at Arkansas, Ron Calcagni, Kevin Scanlon," said Dameron, played football at the University of Arkansas (1979-82) under head coach Lou Holtz, "I ended up playing with Scanlon. You have different guys from different eras."
His favorite professionals?
“I was a big Joe Namath fan, a big Roger Staubach fan, a big (Joe) Montana fan," he said.
After serving as a graduate assistant at Arkansas in 1983, Dameron began his coaching career as the defensive backs assistant at Southwest Missouri State in 1986. Over the years he and his wife Debbie and daugther Krystle have made stops in places the likes of Cincinnati, Ohio and Nacogdoches, Tex. and Ithaca, N.Y. There was even a stint as the secondary coach for the Toronto Argonauts in 1999.
Along the way, Dameron made friends and connections which fill his mailbox with cards and photos come Christmas.
“People ask me now if I have a team," Dameron said, "well no, I have guys on different teams all over the NFL and coaches and administrators and GMs and all those jobs. I just wish for all the guys that I know to do well."