May 26, 2009
UPDATED: Watson named USI men's basketball head coach
Becomes ninth head coach in program history
– The University of Southern Indiana Department of Athletics announced the hiring of Rodney Watson
as its new men's basketball coach. He becomes the ninth head coach in the history of the program.
"I am honored that the Director of Athletics Jon Mark Hall
and the University of Southern Indiana would trust me to lead the Screaming Eagles basketball program," said Watson. "I am grateful to all the former coaches and student athletes who have built this program's foundation."
Watson takes the helm of the Screaming Eagles after 21 seasons at Southern Illinois University. He has been the associate head coach the last two seasons after spending 19 seasons as an assistant coach under head coaches Rich Herrin, Bruce Weber, Matt Painter, and Chris Lowery.
During Watson's tenure at SIU, the Salukis have won 11 Missouri Valley Conference championships and qualified for nine NCAA Tournaments and six NITs. SIU also compiled a 430-237 record and a .645 winnings percentage.
The Salukis' success was not limited to the basketball court with 23 of the last 24 seniors earning bachelor's degrees since 2002.
A native of Paris, Illinois, Watson started his coaching career at Coulterville High School, where he guided the Eagles to the program's first regional championship. He moved to Madison High School in 1984 and led the Trojans to a regional and sectional championship, advancing to the Illinois Elite Eight.
The success at the high school level was a springboard to the college ranks, beginning with a two-year stretch in 1986 at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He moved to SIU in 1988, beginning his 20-plus season association with the Salukis.
"It became evident early in the process that Rodney was well respected in the coaching ranks," said Hall. "He has been a part of many championship teams at SIU, and now it is his time to take over his own program."
Watson and his wife Carol have four children, Ashley, Zachary, and twins, Olivia and Blake.
Links to media coverage of Watson becoming Head Coach
Evansville Courier & Press Coverage of Press Conference
Evansville Courier & Press Article by Randy Beard
Evansville Courier & Press Column by Randy Beard
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information