NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - As a young sports reporter, I had the chance to interview a high school senior wide receiver right after his team won the state football championship. Now many years later, I had the opportunity to interview that person again. Kevin Dyson is now Dr. Kevin Dyson and instead of football, he now excels at academics.

We started the interview with me calling him by his new title Dr. Kevin Dyson. "That sounds weird, doesn’t it?" Dyson said. “Yes, it does.” I replied. "I was just a kid man. I was 16,17 maybe 18 years old. I was 17 because I was a senior in high school." Said Dyson.

From Clearfield High School. To the University of Utah. To the Tennessee Titans. Kevin Dyson is a competitor no matter the playing field. His focus has switched from football to academics. As the new principal at Centennial High School. Fans knew what drove him on the football field, but we I wanted to know what drove him as a principal.

"I want to be the best school wherever I’m at.” Dyson said. “You know that’s the competitive nature that I have in me so like I said a lot of the things that help me be successful as an athlete I’ve been able to translate into life after football."

That transition wasn't an easy one. He never imagined becoming a high school principal, let alone getting his doctorate in Education. For him, school was always something he had to do to play sports.

"I’m not afraid to tell my story.” Dyson added. “I wasn’t always Dr. Kevin Dyson as I told you I didn’t take school seriously."

And yet, Dr. Dyson has done two things that only 1 percent of the population has done, be a first round NFL draft pick and collect 2 Master's degrees and a doctorate. And he's using his story to motivate his students to achieve more than he has.

"The fact that I was raised by a single mother and the oldest. I went to get my college degree and then I went and got my first Master’s degree and my second Master’s degree and then my doctorate I realize now that yeah how rare it is." Said Dyson.

Coming off a year disrupted by Covid, Dyson believes this year he has a greater chance of making an impact because of what he learned about himself.

"Even this past year, the past two years with a pandemic I had to learn a whole new way of educating. A whole new way of living, leading and that in and of itself help me grow as a person." He said.

And he is looking forward to the new year, with a new vision, for his new school.

"One of the biggest things I think I want to do and it’s about the ownership I want the kids to feel ownership of the school and take pride in the school.” Said Dyson.

And if the students buy in, Dyson will be well on his way to making his second career just as successful as his first.

"I do miss the X’s & O’s but I really enjoy this side of education."

Dr. Dyson says one of his biggest goals this year is to start building those relationships with his students in hopes that they too will believe in the power of a good education.

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