Bobby Watson

Bobby Watson (1942-1977)

Teams coached: Evansville Purple Aces
Evansville record: 1-3 (.250)
Overall record^: 1-3 (.250)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  0

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1977 Evansville
1974-1977 Oral Roberts (asst)
1973-1974 Wake Forest (asst)
1971-1973 Ferrum College
1969-1971 Xavier (asst)
1967-1968 Xavier (asst)

Bobby Watson Facts

  • Robert Lee Watson
  • Born August 8, 1942
  • Died December 13, 1977
  • Hometown: Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
  • Alma Mater: Virginia Military Institute (BA, 1965)
  • A star basketball and baseball player at Bethel Park HS (PA), Watson played basketball for coach L.F. “Weenie” Miller at VMI
  • Started his career as the head boys’ basketball coach at William Fleming HS (VA) for the 1964-65 season
  • Entered the US Army in 1965 and served two tours in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division

    • Awarded two Bronze Star Medals, the Commendation Medal and five Purple Hearts for his service
  • Returned to coaching in 1967, with two stints (three total years) as an assistant under Xavier head coach George Krajack
  • Served as the head coach at Ferrum College (VA) for two years, amassing a 61-8 record and attracting the attention of Carl Tacy, the head coach at Wake Forest who previously worked at Ferrum
    • Watson spent one year on Tacy‘s staff at Wake and then three years at Oral Roberts working under Jerry Hale
  • Watson was hired in 1977 to succeed the great Arad McCutchan as the head coach at Evansville, which was entering its first year of D-I competition
    • On December 13, 1977, the Evansville team and staff boarded a plane to fly to Nashville for an upcoming game against Middle Tennessee; after several hours of delays due to weather, the plane took off but shortly after suffered an engine failure and crashed not far from Evansville Regional Airport; all passengers and crew perished in the crash
    • Despite only coaching four games, Watson was inducted posthumously into the Evansville Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978
    • A memorial fountain, titled “Weeping Basketball” was erected on campus for all the players and coaches lost in the crash

Bobby Watson Coaching Tree

  • coming soon


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA Division I level only