ENGLEWOOD — It’s been quite a year for Dylan Lawson.
Lawson, a full-time youth minister at Englewood Church of God, dropped 112 pounds thanks to a renewed passion for running. Now he gets to run some more as the new cross country coach at McMinn Central.
Central Athletic Director Brent Masingale offered the cross country job, and Lawson couldn’t be happier about it.
“I’m pretty pumped about it, I’m excited,” Lawson said. “We went ahead and got the ball rolling and are getting the kids ready to go.”
Lawson has been involved in Central quite a bit after his graduation from CHS in 2012. He became a youth pastor in 2015 and came back to the area three years ago and is now the youth pastor at Englewood Church of God. Lawson helped out with the football team, both as an assistant coach and a team chaplain for a while. He is no longer an assistant coach, but is still the team chaplain. Last spring he helped out Masingale in track. He must have impressed, as Masingale offered him the cross country job.
Lawson never ran cross country in high school, but did run the 400-meter and 4x4 relay at Central and a little bit of the 800-meter run. Masingale was his coach.
“It’s a great feeling getting to hire a former athlete,” Masingale said. “Dylan is an avid runner himself and will be able to get out there and run with them and push their pace. Dylan is a guy of great character and will be a great asset to our athletic program.”
But he really got into running over the past year.
“Last year at this time I was about 300 pounds and I started a lifestyle change and I started running, just getting back into shape and got my mind and health in check,” Lawson said. “Because of that I started running a whole lot. I did a marathon, just some conditioning. When I ran the marathon, almost eight months to the date, I went from 302 pounds to 190 pounds.”
Lawson said that experience has lit a passion for running. He said people either love running or hate it, and he is definitely in the former category.
Lawson, who trains with his athletes, said he “was incredibly honored” to be asked to take over the cross country program, and he hopes to help his athletes become excited as he is about running.
“If I could not just inspire, but lead students to discover their passion for running and further their talent and ability, that is something that would bring me a lot of fulfillment,” Lawson said.