38 Bobby Watson

Bobby Watson
Hometown (Last School)
Owensboro, KY
1949-50, 1950-51, 1951-52
March 22, 1930

From the 1952 University of Kentucky Basketball Media Guide:

The Mighty Mite of Kentucky basketball . . . A perfect testimonial to the axiom of the basketball coaching fraternity that “a good little man has to be twice as good as the good big man,” Bobby fits in the diminutive-but-dangerous category . . . He’s one of the most deadly-accurate long shots in the business, popping them in consistently from 30′ out . . . Opponents spend plenty of time worrying about keeping Watson in tight check once he crosses the center line for the reason “if you give him an inch, he’ll throw it a mile.” . . . Watson had one of his greatest nights last season against Tulane at New Orleans as he threw in eight consecutive field goals from distances over 20 feet out . . . Although he’s very shy off the court, once on the hardwood Bobby is a veritable demon and should have little trouble continuing the pace set set last season in pressing teammate Frank Ramsey for runner-up honors in the scoring column . . . Seeing action in all 34 of the Wildcats’ games, he connected for 353 points while Ramsey finished second to Bill Spivey with 355 . . . Surprising as it may seem in view of his 5’10 1/2″ size, Watson de-lights in going into the pivot and trying hook shots a la Spivey.

Obituary – Obituary for Bobby Watson, Glenn Funeral Home (February 1, 2017)

Bobby Watson, athlete, veteran, teacher and coach passed away Tuesday, January 31, 2017 in Owensboro. Born in Central City, KY, a son of the late Clyde and Eleanor Childress Watson, he graduated from Owensboro High School in 1948, where he was active in ROTC, played on the football team and was a member of the basketball team, being deadly with his two-hand set shot. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Alabama but returned shortly after his arrival to enroll at the University of Kentucky, where he was initially a walk-on player for Coach Adolph Rupp. Awarded a scholarship the second semester of his freshman year as a guard, he went on to be named to All SEC First Teams and All SEC Tournament Teams, playing on the 1951 National Championship team. Named an All American, as a four-year starter, he was the fifth member of UK’s 1,000 Point Club. The teams on which he played lost but 10 games during his career, was the last to play in the Alumni Gym and the first to play in Memorial Coliseum.

He played and lettered for the UK tennis team. A veteran of the United States Air Force, he served during the Korean Conflict. During his service, he played for the Andrews Air Force Base Inter-Service basketball squad which won the Armed Services Championship. He played for the Minneapolis (now Los Angeles) Lakers in the 1954-1955 season, his career cut short by injury.

Returning to Owensboro he became head coach of the Owensboro High School basketball team in 1957, a position he held until 1980. During his tenure, Coach Watson’s teams won 18 District Championships, 14 Regional Championships, and State Championships in 1972 and 1980. He was named 8 times as the Big 8 Coach of the Year and in 1980 as the Courier Journal Coach of the Year. Coach Watson was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, the Owensboro Hall of Fame, the Owensboro High School Hall of Achievement, the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Owensboro Walk of Fame.

Mr. Watson is survived by his wife of 60 years, Diane Hunt Watson; his daughter Shawn Watson Martin and her husband Gene of Naples, FL, his son Ted Watson and his wife Cissy of Athens, GA; and his grandchildren Hunter Martin, Haley Martin, Hannah Martin, Hunt Watson, Ali Watson, and Jessica Watson. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his brother Billy Watson.

The funeral service for Mr. Watson will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church. Visitation will be from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. Friday at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory. Private burial will be in Rosehill Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to Hospice of Western Kentucky and the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Messages of condolence may be placed at www.glennfuneralhome.com