By MIKE WILLIAMS
Pulaski native Cam Akers will take the reins of the Pulaski County Cougar football program following an announcement by the school system Wednesday that head coach Mark Dixon will take a leave of absence due to a medical issue.
The school system issued the following statement early Thursday afternoon:
“Pulaski County Football Coach Mark Dixon will be taking a leave of absence to undergo treatment for a medical issue related to his previous career in professional football. Assistant Coach Cam Akers has been appointed as the interim head coach to run all team operations during this leave of absence. Pulaski County Public Schools and Pulaski County High School look forward to having Coach Dixon back and in charge of Cougar Football as soon as possible.”
Dixon, 51 played offensive guard at the University of Virginia from 1989-1993, playing for Hall of Fame coach George Welsh.
He subsequently played nine seasons of professional football including stints with NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League. During his time in the CFL, Dixon was a member of the Baltimore Stallions – winners of the 1995 Grey Cup. Dixon was named a first-team All-American by Football News in his senior year at Virginia.
His professional career ended with a five-year run in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins where he started 60 games.
Dixon was hired in May of 2020 to take over as head coach of the Cougars following the resignation of former coach Stephen James.
In his first season at Pulaski County – the COVID season – the Cougars went 4-3, losing in the first round of the VHSL playoffs.
Last season the Cougars went 4-6 and barely missed making the VHSL playoffs again.
Dixon broke into coaching at Galax High School where he coached for 10 years and compiled a 101-35 mark with the Maroon Tide. During the decade he spent at Galax, Dixon won a state title in 2015 and his team was state runner up in both 2011 and 2019.
Dixon and his wife, Wendy – a math teacher at Pulaski County High School – have four children.
Akers, a 2008 graduate of PCHS who played for former head coach Jack Turner, joined Dixon’s coaching staff last season after five seasons at the helm of the Auburn Eagles football program in Riner.