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Dan Watson
2019
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    DAN WATSON

    By Gail Wood

    When Dan Watson first became the head track coach at Lincoln High School back in 1965, there was a need for his sale's pitch to get athletes to turn out, his come-on-and-turnout plea.
    But recruiting quickly became easier. And winning became a tradition for Watson's hard working Abes as he coached track there from 1966 to 1986.

    Building one of the most successful track programs in state history, Watson's teams won six state titles in a stretch of just nine years, winning state titles in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974 and 1977. It was an incredible streak. Watson and his mighty Abes compiled an impressive 150-10 record in dual meets over a 20-year stretch as a track coach. "We were the dominate force in the state and rarely lost," Watson said.

    Besides track, Watson was also an exceptional cross country coach. In 1965, he started the cross country program at Lincoln and by the time he stopped coaching cross country 20 years later in 1985, his cross country teams won approximately 145 out of 160 dual meets.

    Among the highlights in cross country, Paul DuCharme won the state championship in cross country in 1975. It was a special moment. He was the last runner from Tacoma to win a state cross country title until 2016.

    In track, Lincoln had 32 individual state champions during Watson's time as the Abes head coach. He coached a talented group of athletes, a list of famous names in Tacoma sports and many Watson developed many into league, district and state placers. Some set records at league, district and state levels. Among the state champions and athletes on the "wow list" include Pat Tyson, Joel Braggs, Roy Nail, Jim Berwold, John Williams, Mike Carr, Paul DuCharme, Gerald Montgomery, Ralph Tipton, Buddy Jenkins, Lloyd Brown, Keith Tinner, Steve Kiesel, and Mike Factory. Pat Tyson was a state qualifier for Watson who went on to follow in his footsteps, coaching at Mead High School and then at Gonzaga University

    In addition to coaching cross country in the fall and track in the spring, Watson also refereed wrestling during the winter months. In 1961, he started officiating wrestling matches at the junior high, high school and college levels. That lasted 29 years as he retired from refereeing in 1990 and he figured he work about 1,000 dual matches and officiated at over 20 high school state tournaments.

    During the 1970s, Watson also officiated college wrestling when he worked the NAIA National Collegiate championships at Eastern Washington University. He was also the state rules interpreter for high school rules in Washington from 1975 to 1979.

    Watson's commitment to coaching and officiating hasn't gone unnoticed. He was inducted into the Tacoma Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, the WIAA Coaches Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the WIAA Coaches Wrestling Hall of Fame.

    Watson's dedication to sports as a coach began as an athlete. Watson, who was born in Fruita, Colorado, in 1937, participated in sports throughout his high school career, playing football, basketball and track. In football, he started three years at running back in high school and played football at Mesa Junior College one year before injuring his knee. He then ran track at Northern Colorado College. In high school, Watson, who graduated from high school in 1955, qualified for state in track four years and was conference champ in the 100, 220, and the 180 low hurdles. As a senior, he placed second at state in the 100 and won the 220.

    So, Watson came to his head coaching jobs at Lincoln with a wealth of knowledge because of his background in sports as an athlete.