Scott Cochran’s departure at Alabama this week sent shockwaves throughout the SEC and left Nick Saban searching for a head strength coach for the first time since 2007.

While it’s early in the process, Alabama’s search to replace Cochran continues with the first candidate Saban met with regarding the open position reportedly took place in Tuscaloosa on Thursday.

According to Matt Zenitz of, Kansas State Director of Strength and Conditioning Chris Dawson was the first coach to interview for the job. Dawson has over 20 years of experience in strength training, having spent the previous 11 with the Kansas State program. In total, Dawson has worked with 39 players that went on to play in the NFL.

Before working at Kansas State, Dawson worked at Kansas. While simply mentioning the Kansas football program may turn off some Alabama fans, keep in mind the Jayhawks went to the Orange Bowl during Dawson’s time running the strength program at Kansas.

Dawson was honored as National Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society for the work he did at Kansas.

Dawson is a student of former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys strength coach Joe Juraszek. Dawson was a linebacker at Oklahoma in the early 1990s.