Golden Eagles currently ranked 23rd in FCS Coach's
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Watson Brown, currently in his fifth season as the head football coach at Tennessee Tech University, has been given a contract extension that will last through the 2016 season.
“Watson Brown is a man of tremendous integrity and high character, and he has done an outstanding job of coaching and leading the student-athletes in our football program,” said Mark Wilson, TTU Director of Athletics.
Brown, 61, was named in December, 2006,
as Tech’s 10th head football coach. The 2011 season is his
39th year of coaching collegiate football overall and his 27th year
as a collegiate head coach.
His Golden Eagles are currently 4-2 and ranked 23rd nationally in the FCS Coach’s Poll.
“I’m excited that the University is pleased with what we’re doing,” Brown said. “It always makes you feel good when you have a strong backing from your bosses. I’m excited that our program is getting better, and for the feeling of excitement around the program, and hopefully we can keep that going. I think we will get better and better each year.”
Wilson pointed to Brown’s leadership both on the field and off when announcing the contract extension.
“Watson’ been such a great
leader for Golden Eagle football since he’s been here,”
Wilson said. “He’s a great coach, a great leader and a
great man, and we’re fortunate that he’s leading our
“As good a coach as Watson Brown is, he’s a better man. He’s really teaching our young men life lessons, the way he handles them off the field, and academically. He’s teaching the young men that play football at Tennessee Tech to be great citizens in their communities when they graduate from here.”
Brown's staff has done a remarkable job in recruiting during the past several years, and has raised the talent level walking the sidelines in Tucker Stadium. 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.
“I’m enjoying it. This is
home for me. When I was growing up, Tennessee Tech was absolutely
the best football program in the league. The experiences were
fantastic for me. I really wanted to come back here and give back,
and get the championships going again. It’s been a long, long
time, but we’re in the fight right now,” Brown
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.
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.
“This is where he wants to
be,” Wilson said. “This is his hometown. He really
wants to make an impact for his hometown university and he is
certainly doing that. We are grateful for his service to Tennessee
Tech and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we grow
Golden Eagle football and continue to enhance this entire
Brown has 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.
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). 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 tenth 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. Five years ago he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2010, the National Football Foundation recognized Watson by selecting him as the recipient of the Roy Kramer Contribution to Football Award.
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