Friday, January 11, 2008
PERRY WATSON - UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT.MERCY
Now in his 15th season at UDM, Perry Watson - the dean of Horizon League basketball coaches - has made rugged defense and winning basketball a way of life during his highly-successful tenure with the Titans.
He is already the second-winningest coach in Titan history, having joined legendary Bob Calihan in 2007 as Detroit's lone coaches with more than 250 career victories.
He has his choice of three championship rings to wear each day, symbolic of conference titles claimed by his team in 1994, '98 and '99.
The '98 Titans received the University's first bid to the NCAA Tournament in 19 years, defeated St. John's in the first round and finished with a 25-6 record, matching the school record for victories. The Titans weren't through there, however. One year later, they matched that lofty 25-6 record, followed up with an outright regular-season championship and their first conference tournament title in five years and again won their first-round NCAA Tournament game, this time defeating UCLA. Those results earned Watson Mideast Coach of the Year recognition from Basketball Times.
No other coach has ever led the Titans into either first or second place in the league standings, nor did any of Watson's predecessors ever coach Detroit to even two straight opening-round victories in conference tournament play.
Watson broke into the college head coaching ranks with a bang, taking his first team, the 1994 Titans, to the school's first-ever MCC Championship. They returned to the league finals in 1996, remarkably, the 13th time in 14 years that Watson played a major role in taking a team to a championship game.
All of the victories have been special in their own way ----
Watson said. "When I was a young coach at the high school level, I wondered if I would get to 100. I got to 300 (actually 302 at Detroit Southwestern) and then there's this, so this is over 500 victories for me.
In 1994, Watson was a member of the first induction class into the Detroit Public School League Coaches Hall of Fame. Nine years later, the gymnasium at Detroit Southwestern was named in his honor.
Watson coached numerous all-star players at Southwestern, such as eventual NBA players Jalen Rose, Howard Eisley and Voshon Lenard. .
A fine prep player in his own right, Watson was an All-City and All-State basketball player at Southwestern in the late Sixties.
Watson earned his B.S. degree in Health and Physical Education in 1972. He earned his M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from EMU in 1976.
A native Detroiter, Watson and his wife, Deborah, have one daughter, Paris.