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Watson honored at Alumni Game
Forty-nine years after Jack Watson started the Matador baseball program, the game that he has honored his whole life is honoring him back.
Before the 11th annual John Stratton AWC Alumni Baseball Game, the Matadors made Watson the fourth member of the AWC Wall of Fame.
In what was supposed to be a surprise ceremony, Watson's number was unveiled on the outfield fence to a round of applause.
“Drew (Keehn) screwed it up,” Watson said jokingly. “He asked me the other day, he said, ‘Jack, when'd you start this program? Oh I screwed up, I think you know what's going to happen.'”
Watson started the program in 1964 and was the head coach as well as the athletic director and assistant football coach until 1975. He returned to baseball in 2000, helping start the San Luis High School baseball program, then returned to assist AWC baseball in 2004.
“I've been surrounded by great kids over the years and it's a great pleasure to come here every day,” Watson said. “At my age I can't do anything but teach and this young coaching staff is outstanding. They treat me like royalty as the kids do. This game is fun and is a great game and has been so good to me directly and indirectly. Everything I have in this life has come from this game. It's really, really fun.”
Matador head coach Drew Keehn said the things that make Watson stand out aren't always the things that everyone sees or knows about.
“He'll do things like bring a pillow and a blanket for guys that are from different countries that don't come with that stuff,” Keehn said. “He'll donate extra money to the program to get little things we try to get for our guys. Just his presence in terms of being able to relate sort of history, in a way, of when he grew up and what he went through to the guys today, because they are sort of out of touch with what went on in the 50s and 60s. He can tell stories to connect the generations.”
Watson said this would be his last year assisting the program, but Keehn knows that statement can't be trusted.
“I'll believe it when I see it,” Keehn said.