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By Harry Doak
The night of Friday, December 8, 2023 was a football delight at Margaritaville on the Lake of the Ozarks. Early in the day were the All-State selections followed by the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductees for 2023. This was the 32nd anniversary of many awards given for the night. Other awards that were given by the MFCA were: The Doug Potts Award; Paul Martel Outstanding Service Award; The Pete Adkins Power of Influence Award and the Hands Team Recognition. The finale were the four, 2023 Coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame.
John Dabney, head football coach at Milan for 16 seasons was one of the four inductees. John, also was head coach to begin his career at Knox County School for 11 years, 27 years as a head coach with a 145-134 career record. Introducing John was his wife, and also Milan’s head boys basketball coach, Andrea Dabney, who presented a very moving and informative side of, not just a coach but the man himself. There are many aspects the committee takes into account before making their choices.
It is not totally about the wins that get you chosen. Other accomplishments are taken into account. In 2013 John received the MFCA Pete Adkins Power of Influence Award. He was an AFCA Power of Influence National Finalist in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
John was a member of the first MFCA Al State Selection Organization Committee. He was a MFCA Board member NEMO Area Representative for 19 years (2004-2022). He was the MFCA Class 1 All State Chairman for 17 years (2007- 2022) and Co-chair for 2 years (2004- 2005). He was also the NEMO Football Coaches Association President for 19 years (2004-2022). John was also involved in the Josh Pinson Weight Lifting Competition (largest in the State of Missouri 1994-2005) for Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.
His record was 102-68 in 16 seasons at Milan. He had 17 winning seasons .500 or better. Five seasons with 10 or more victories. John had five undefeated regular seasons. A 39 game regular season win streak from 2010-2014. Ten seasons he had his team in the playoffs. In this run was a 21 conference game win streak from 2010-2014.
John was selected head coach for the 2016 Missouri Lions 40th Annual All-Star Contest, the Gold Team. His team won 34-6.
He had 14 Coach of the Year honors, of these 8 were Kirksville Daily Express honors; four were Conference Coach of the Year; and he was a two-time NEMO Associated Press, Coach of the Year.
John was and is active in so many aspects of the game, but what is not seen is the kindness, life long lessons to so many of his student athletes. He is a strong supporter of academics and willing to assist each and every person. John is a student of the game, life, faith and family. We as a community should be so blessed and proud for the time he had dedicated. Also, not very many communities have two Hall of Famers. Duane Schnelle was inducted in the class of 1996.
Many people do not realize John was a head baseball coach for 25 years, compiling 211 victories, 99 were recorded at Knox County where he won three conference titles in 11 years.
At Milan he accumulated 112 victories and 1 Conference Title in 14 years.
Congratulations for being inducted to the MFCA Hall of Fame!