|Honors:||2011 OVC Coach of the Year|
One might think that after nearly 40 seasons of collegiate
coaching, Watson Brown has pretty much seen it all. But what the
veteran coach saw in his team's amazing, fourth-quarter comeback
victory over Jacksonville State in the 2010 season finale impressed
him so much that he has made a change in his approach to the 2011
Bottom line - better not blink or you might miss a play or two. The Golden Eagles hope to exhibit "The Fastest 60 Minutes in Football" when they take the field in 2011. Ever the offensive inovator, Brown will combine all the knowledge he has gained through 39 seasons on the sidelines with a fast-paced system aimed at giving the Golden Eagles an edge as they bid for an Ohi Valley Conference championship.
Of course, he wouldn't be in a position to make the change unless the Golden Eagle roster included enough talent to carry it out. But Brown's staff has done a remarkable job in recruiting the past several years, and has raised the talent level walking the sidelines in Tucker Stadium.
In short, don't be suprised by anything that Brown's team accomplishes.
Born and raised in Cookeville, he came back home in in 2007 and his first four seasons at Tennessee Tech have been a whirlwind of excitement marked by a resurgence in support for Golden Eagle football.
The veteran coach has used an even-tempered approach to teach his young staff and players, and the first four years have only increased Tech’s desire to reclaim supremacy in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Golden Eagles are primed and ready to go back on the attack.
The 2011 season will be Brown’s 39th year of coaching collegiate football overall and his 27th year as a collegiate head coach.
Brown, 60, was named in December 2006 as the new head football coach of the Tennessee Tech University Golden Eagles. He returned to his hometown as the 10th head football coach in Tech history.
“We’re excited to be coming back to Cookeville,” Brown said at the packed press conference. “This is a great opportunity to make a move and really improve the Golden Eagle football program to the point where we can win conference championships and make a run at a national championship.”
Brown left his position as head coach at UAB after 12 seasons.
Brown has previously coached at two schools that are members of the Ohio Valley Conference, serving as head coach at Austin Peay for two years and assistant coach at Jacksonville State, then a Division II program, for two years.
“Cookeville is home. It’s where my wife and I are from, and it’s neat to have that as part of this decision, too,” Brown said.
Brown returned to the town where he was a talented baseball, football and basketball player at Cookeville High School. He signed with Vanderbilt out of high school and was a standout quarterback for the Commodores from 1969-72. He is best remembered by many Commodore fans for leading Vandy to a 14-10 victory over Alabama in 1969. Brown was named the Sports Illustrated National Back of the Week for his efforts.
Support for Brown was evident from Day One, and it carried over through the 2007 season with record season ticket sales. Tech’s first home game drew the largest opening day crowd in the 43-year history of Tucker Stadium.
He has worked hard in his effort toward rebuilding the Golden Eagles into Ohio Valley Conference champions and has had the support of the community and the Upper Cumberland Region. A popular speaker, Brown has addressed numerous clubs and organizations throughout the region during his time at Tech.
He has also found success on the recruiting trail, signing four of the most promising groups of newcomers in the program’s history.
Raising the talent level at Tech is a key step in taking the Golden Eagles to a conference championship. It’s a step that Brown is familiar with -- after all, building programs has been a calling card for Watson Brown.
The remarkable growth of the UAB program under Brown’s guidance was a major factor in UAB’s entry into Conference USA play in 1999. That year for their C-USA debut, the Blazers recorded a 5-6 overall record against a brutal all I-A schedule, finishing in a four-way tie for second place with a 4-2 league record.
Under Brown, UAB was bowl-eligible three times in seven seasons and in 2004 attained their previously elusive first bowl invitation with a trip to Honolulu to play in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl.
A proven veteran in the coaching profession, Brown is known as one of the best offensive minds in football.
He made his head coaching debut in 1979 in the Ohio Valley Conference directing the Austin Peay Governors, and at age 29, he was one of the youngest head coaches in the nation. He posted 7-4 records in both 1979 and 1980, twice being runner-up for Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Brown began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Vanderbilt in 1973 and was a full-time assistant coach for the first time in 1974 as Pat Dye’s quarterback and receiver coach at East Carolina. The Pirates were 7-4 in 1974 and 8-3 in 1975, posting victories over several Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
Brown was the offensive coordinator at Jacksonville State University in 1976 and 1977 (at the time JSU was a Division II program, and currently is a member of the OVC). During those two seasons, the Gamecocks finished 7-4 and 11-3, and played for the Division II national championship in 1977.
Brown was the quarterbacks and receivers coach at Texas Tech in 1978, where the Red Raiders posted a 7-4 record in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
While serving as offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt for two seasons (1981-82), Brown’s offense set 57 school records and the Commodores posted an 8-3 record and made a Hall of Fame Bowl appearance (1982).
In 1983, Brown was head coach at Cincinnati, where he led the Bearcats to a season-opening 14-3 victory at defending national champion Penn State.
Before coaching at Vanderbilt, Brown was athletic director and head football coach at Rice (1984-85). He led the Owls to two of their best offensive seasons.
From 1986-90, Brown was the head coach at Vanderbilt, his alma mater. In 1991 and 1992, Brown was the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State under head coach Jackie Sherrill. During those two seasons, the Bulldogs posted a 14-10 record, made two bowl appearances and upset three nationally-ranked opponents.
Prior to going to UAB, Brown was the offensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma (1993-94).
Coaching is a big part of Brown’s family. His brother Mack Brown is the head coach at Texas and won a national championship with the Longhorns. His grandfather, Eddie “Jelly” Watson, was a legendary prep football coach, compiling a 106-51-13 record at Cookeville High School.
Brown’s brother Mel resides in Cookeville. Watson Brown is married to the former Brenda Arnold, and they have two children; daughter Ginny, who was a four-year letterwinner at Georgia State University (1996-00), and a son Steven, who was a wide receiver/quarterback for the Golden Eagles in 2007 and has joined his father’s coaching staff. After filling a role as a graduate assistant coach in 2008, Steven is now an assistant coach working with the quarterback and runningbacks.
Watson Brown is Tech’s 10th head football coach since 1922, joining the ranks of Loyall Duck, Putty Overall, Hooper Eblen, Star Wood, Wilburn Tucker, Don Wade, Gary Darnell, Jim Ragland and Mike Hennigan.
Brown’s many achievements as a student-athlete and later as a coach in the state of Tennessee have not gone unnoticed. Four years ago he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2010, the National Football Foundation recognized Watson by seleecting him as the recipient of the Roy Kramer Contribution to Football Award.