With assistant Elwood McElwain making the decision to leave the staff in order to join Michael Grant’s staff at Coppin State, UTPA head coach Dan Hipsher had a spot to fill on his coaching staff. In order to do so Hipsher hired someone familiar with him from their shared time at Alabama, where Hipsher served as Anthony Grant’s associate head coach for four seasons from 2009-13.
Thursday it was announced by UTPA that Willie Watson has joined the staff as an assistant coach. Watson, who spent six seasons (2005-11) at Alabama as a manager and graduate assistant. Watson and Hipsher were members of the Alabama staff from 2009-11, with Watson being a graduate assistant and Hipsher being the associate head coach during that time.
“He’s come up through the ranks, working all the different jobs you need to understand to be a good assistant. He’s worked at the junior college level and the high major level,” Hipsher said in the release. “In all my experience with him, he was always on time, on top of his work and doing his job. This past year he worked in academic assistance at the University of Alabama and those people had nothing but praise for him.
“When people praise you for the effort you put forth in an environment that doesn’t lead to your career goal, that’s pretty impressive. Additionally, he has great contacts in the southeast and I think he’s an up and coming coach who will make a great contribution to our program.”
UTPA finished the 2013-14 season with a 9-23 record, going 5-11 in WAC play. The Broncs will have to account for the loss of leading scorer Javorn Farrell (16.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.3 apg), but guard Shaquille Boga (14.0, 3.5, 3.3) and forward Shaquille Hines (12.8, 6.2) are both due back next season.