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NIC head men's basketball coach to lead Tennessee program

North Idaho College men's basketball coach Hugh Watson announced today that he is resigning from his head coaching position at NIC. Watson has accepted a head coaching position at a NCAA Division II school in Tennessee, where Watson hales from originally and where many of his family members still live. “We hate to see Coach Watson leave,” said NIC Athletics Director Al Williams. “He's done an excellent job of maintaining our excellent basketball tradition including a final-four finish at the NJCAA national tournament in 1997. Though we're sorry to see him go, it's a great opportunity for him and a chance to get closer to his family. We wish him well.” Watson has been named the head men's basketball coach at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., located 55 miles north of Knoxville. The team finished 6-21 overall last year and 1-3 in the Gulf South Conference. Watson will replace Jeff Tungate, who recently accepted an assistant coaching job at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. Watson interviewed with the search committee and university president on Monday, accepted the position Wednesday and announced his resignation to the NIC men's basketball team today (Thursday). “North Idaho College has been a great experience for me and my family,” Watson said. “It's got great people and this is a great town. We absolutely love it here. But this is a decision about family.” Williams said discussions to fill the vacancy will begin immediately. “The team is in good hands with an outstanding class of incoming recruits and an outstanding assistant coach in Jared Phay,” Williams said. Watson came to NIC in 1996 and that year put together one of NIC's most successful teams. The 1996-1997 Cardinals created a wave of excitement as they played to a 33-6 record and a fourth-place finish at the NJCAA national tournament. Watson's success was highlighted by being voted 1997 Coach of the Year for the Scenic West Athletic Conference. Prior to NIC, Watson was the assistant coach at the University of Idaho where he helped lead the Vandals to a 1993 Big Sky Championship and a 24-8 season record. He was also head coach at Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tenn., from 1984-1990 and before that coached at Columbia Central High School in Tennessee. He and his wife Anna Sue have three children, Gabe, an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii, and Leigh Ann and Tyler, who both live in Tennessee. “We've had some wonderful supporters in the community during my time at NIC,” Watson said. “But this will help me move up a notch in my coaching career.”

For More Information
NIC Athletics Director Al Williams, (208) 665-5458

Posted: Thursday, Sept. 2, 2004

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