Bill Dotson passed away on Saturday at the age of 81 surrounded by family and friends. Dotson is survived by his wife Linda and his children Charlie, Chad, Scott and Stephanie.

As coach of the University of New Mexico’s wrestling team from 1980-1999, Dotson trained five UNM athletes that competed at the Division I level. Although the program was cut by UNM in April of 1999, Dotson was a powerful influence during his tenure as coach.

According to Dotson’s son Charlie, Dotson was a good man who liked to laugh.

“He was a man’s man, he was UFC before there was UFC or before UFC was the UFC. So, he was a tough guy, 5’7 with a chip on his shoulder,” Charlie Dotson told KRQE News. “He was a dangerous man, but the toughest guy I ever met.”

Former Rio Grande Ravens head wrestling coach Mark Garcia was a wrestler at UNM under Dotson and had kind words for Dotson in the Albuquerque Journal, noting that Dotson was quite a character and wrestling coach.

“Wrestling at UNM was a big, big part of my life, and Bill Dotson was bigger than life,” Garcia told the Journal.

Dotson was a decorated wrestler himself, having competed for Waterloo East. In 1963, Dotson won both Division II and Division I individual titles at 137 pounds.

Coached by Dave Natvig in college, Dotson was voted the Most Valuable Athlete of Waterloo East in 1958. According to the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, Dotson was also a two letter winner in football and a four letter winner in baseball.

Dotson’s coaching career was extensive after 36 years of coaching at three high schools and two universities.

Emma Trevino is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @itsemmatr