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Saturday, October 15, 2011
Jones welcomes 11-year-old to SMU staff

By Art Garcia

DALLAS -- June Jones welcomed a new member to his coaching staff Saturday afternoon. Luckily, it wasn't a school night.

Kelan Lawson, an 11-year-old student at Curtsinger Elementary in Frisco, joined SMU's staff for the Mustangs' 38-17 win over Central Florida at Ford Stadium.

Lawson loves football and his dream is to one day step into Jones' shoes as head coach of the Mustangs. Lawson has cerebral palsy.

Jones was introduced to Lawson through a report on WFAA, which asked the SMU coach if the youngster could join him on the sidelines for a game. Jones immediately agreed.

Jones felt a bond to Lawson that went back to his time coaching at Hawaii. One of Jones' graduate assistants then was Brian Kajiyama, who also has cerebral palsy.

Lawson saw an ESPN profile on Kajiyama and would go on to befriend him. Lawson spoke to the Mustangs on Thursday, which is when Jones learned that the preteen assistant also knew Kajiyama.

"We go out there and play the game, but it's really about those types of things," Jones said. "I don't even remember the [start of the game], but I'm not going to forget that little kid."