Kentucky Wesleyan named Willie Watson as assistant men’s basketball coach, according to Panther head coach Happy Osborne.
Watson served as an assistant for two seasons at Division I Texas Rio Grande Valley (2014-15, 2015-16). Prior to joining the Vaqueros, he spent one season at Alabama (2013-14) working in assistant academic advisor for basketball and football.
“Willie comes to us with the reputation as a very successful recruiter especially the South and an advocate for student-athlete academic successes,” Osborne stated.
“He was highly recommended by former Alabama assistant and current Northern Kentucky head coach John Brannen, and Rio Grande Valley head coach Dan Hipsher.”
Watson received his first head coaching position when Marion Military Institute chose him as their interim coach in 2012-13 after one season as their assistant. Watson led his team to a win over the No. 1 team in the region while coaching two all-conference and one all-region player.
Before MMI, Watson served as a graduate assistant for two years for head coach Anthony Grantx at his alma mater Alabama. During his time, he contributed to the recruiting of four top-25 classes and assisted the Crimson Tide to the 2011 SEC West Championship and NIT Finals.
Watson initially went to Alabama as a manager before walking on to the team and helping the 2005-06 Crimson Tide to 20 wins and the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a freshman under head coach Mark Gottfried.
His sophomore year, he then returned to his managerial duties, becoming the head manager as a junior. Watson supervised 11 managers and implementing travel arrangements for more than 60 student-athletes.
He also assisted coaches with recruiting, practices, games, team camps and daily office assignments.
Watson earned his bachelor of science degree in business management in 2009 and his master of science in sports management in 2011. He also received graduate certificates in conflict management, negotiation and mediation.
The native of York, Ala., was a four-year letterwinner at Sumter County High School where they won back-to-back 3-A State Championships as a junior and senior. He served as team captain his final season.