Yuma, Arizona - When spring rolls around, the Arizona Western College baseball team will be without a legend for the first time in a long time. Jack Watson, a longtime baseball coach as well as a former athletic director at AWC, passed away earlier in the week at the age of 84.
“Arizona Western College is deeply saddened by the passing of Jack Watson,” said athletic director Jerry Smith. “Jack touched many lives in his tenure at Arizona Western College and has a long legacy of former players in the major leagues and coaching at many levels all across the baseball world. He was a mentor to me as I came to AWC some 12 years ago. He is respected and admired throughout the baseball community by former players, coaches, colleagues and students. He will be sorely missed by all."
Watson became the first head coach in the team’s history back in 1965. He also served as the school’s athletic director at the same time. The Matadors enjoyed incredible success under his direction. As a coach, he led the team to three playoffs in his 10 seasons.
After his return as an assistant in 2004, he was a fixture at practices and games offering advice built on years of experience.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.