Men's College Basketball

Screaming Eagles' Watson announces his retirement

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 24, 2020 12:01 am

The winningest men's basketball coach at the University of Southern Indiana won't return to the sidelines next season.

Screaming Eagles coach Rodney Watson announced Monday through a video press conference he is retiring after 11 seasons at the helm and 32 seasons coaching college basketball overall. The school announced it would begin a search for his replacement immediately.

Watson led Southern Indiana to a 22-8 record and a berth in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional this winter. His teams won 20 or more games nine teams and never won fewer than 19 games in a season.

Overall, he compiled a 251-82 record with a 142-60 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark.

Watson went 9-1 against Quincy University, the only loss coming on Jan. 14, 2016, in Evansville, Ind., when the Hawks erased a 10-point deficit over the final eight minutes, took the lead for the first time with 50 seconds to go and held on for a 96-92 victory.

"The timing is perfect for a new voice, new style and new energy," said Watson, who spent 21 seasons as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois University before taking the USI job.

Watson would have going into the 2020-21 season tied with Indianapolis coach Stan Gouard as the third-longest tenured coach in the GLVC. Drury coach Steve Hesser just completed his 16th season, while Lewis' Scott Trost has coached 14 seasons.

Watson led the Screaming Eagles to two GLVC championship, seven NCAA tournament appearances, the 2019 Midwest Regional championship and the 2019 final four.