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April 16, 2002

Watkins named men’s basketball assistant coach at USI

The University of Southern Indiana Athletic Department has named Jesse Watkins men’s basketball assistant coach. Watkins replaces Stan Gouard, who took a similar position at the University of Indianapolis.

Watkins joins the USI staff after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant at Wabash Valley Junior College in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. He helped lead Wabash Valley to a 69-5 record (36-1 in 2000-01 33-4 in 2001-02) in those two seasons and to the 2001 and 2002 Great Rivers Athletic Conference regular season championships as well as the 2001 and 2002 GRAC Conference Championship.

Regionally and nationally, Watkins helped direct the Warriors to the 2001 and 2002 Illinois Regional Championship and the 2001 NJCAA National Championship.

Watkins, prior to coaching at Wabash Valley, played and coached at Lincoln Memorial University. He helped lead LMU to a number five national ranking in defense as a player in 1992-93 as the Railsplitters finished 17-9. Watkins returned to LMU in 1996-97 as a coach and helped direct the Railsplitters to a 34-19 record over two seasons and to its first ever appearance in the Gulf South Conference Tournament in 1997.

“Jesse is a quality young man with a tremendous work ethic,” said USI Head Coach Rick Herdes. “He has a knowledge of the southern states and has contacts at all levels of basketball. Jesse is a great addition to my staff.”

The USI Screaming Eagles are coming off its 10th straight 20-win season with a record of 22-8 overall, going 17-4 in the final 21 games after a 5-4 start. The Eagles were fourth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference with a 14-6 league record and advanced to the semifinals of the GLVC Tournament in 2002.

Ray Simmons,
Sports Information Director

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