February 27, 2015

Todd Marshall
Director of Communications,
Marketing and Development
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

John Watson Former TISD Tennis Coach to be Inducted into TISD Hall of Fame

Texarkana, TX – Texarkana Independent School District (TISD) will honor former Tennis Coach, John Watson, as their 2015 inductee to the TISD Hall of Fame during its annual Texas Public Schools Week Community Breakfast.

The event will be held on Tuesday, March 3, at 7:00 a.m. in the Dan Haskins Student Center at Texas High School, 2112 Kennedy Lane. The public is welcomed to attend.
“Coach Watson is the perfect example of someone who sets high expectations for students and models those same expectations,” stated Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. “There was never a doubt he wanted to do what was best for students and was willing to go above and beyond to make it happen. He was wonderful with kids, first one on the campus most days and the most organized person I have ever met. His love for the game of tennis and his students was prevalent in all that he did.”

The TISD Hall of Fame award is given to a retired employee who has made a significant impact on the district and the Texarkana community. The award preserves the history of great educators who have made TISD what it is today and ensures their names and contributions are here for others to see for many years to come.

Watson grew up in Longview, TX playing all sports, from football and basketball to baseball. Tennis was really just a summer hobby. Following high school, he went on to Bethany Nazarene University which is now Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK on a baseball scholarship. With a Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education & Recreation in hand, Watson picked up the tennis racquet and developed a passion for the game, becoming a competitive tournament player and top ranked in Oklahoma.

He began his career in the field of education in 1972 at College Hill Junior High School as a basketball, football and tennis coach. In 1973, Watson moved to Putnam City Schools in Oklahoma City, OK to coach the same sports at Central Junior High and to teach junior tennis during the summers. His talents brought him to Texas High School in 1983 where he remained until his retirement in 2014.

“I really didn’t know what to expect when I came to Texas High,” said Watson. “There were four courts of asphalt by the field house with nets made of chain link fence. “Other than that, my first challenge was to instill in players that tennis is not just an individual sport it is a team sport and we must focus on the full picture of the game. By playing with a team mentality versus every man for himself, we could accomplish more in terms of team, double and individual wins.”

Watson also began the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club for his students to join. “In some cases, I saw these students more than their parents did. I had good kids, good students and wanted to reinforce the importance of family values with them while they were under my care,” he shared.

John Watson’s 31-year legacy produced 464 team wins, 56 fall/spring district titles with 48 of those titles in 24 consecutive years. Close to 30 of his players were named state qualifiers and six of them went on to capture state champion titles.

“TISD was very supportive of the tennis program. We essentially built the program from the ground up with team uniforms and a great deal of travel to tournaments that would offer our students a competitive challenge.”

Texas High now has eleven tennis courts with awnings and benches for players and spectators, and an indoor facility with three courts. In August of 2014, the TISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the Texas High School tennis facilities to the John Watson Tennis Complex in his honor.

“I am most humbled by the opportunity and recognition TISD has given me over the years. I hope that my role as a tennis coach and mentor to the many students I have taught has influenced them personally and professionally as they have moved on in their lives.”

Watson is married to Mary Ann and they have four children, Toby Watson, Jennifer Nichols, Melissa Douglass and Tiffany Earnest. They are blessed with seven grandchildren – Addison Nichols, Austin Warlick, Brooklyn Watson, Kaitlyn Watson, Katie Earnest, Lleighton Watson and Tucker Douglass.

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