DSU hires Jason Watson as head baseball coachBefore he even graduated from college, Jason Watson has been working to become a head coach. Dickinson State is giving him that chance.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Before he even graduated from college, Jason Watson has been working to become a head coach.
Dickinson State is giving him that chance.
Watson, a Wisconsin native, was announced as the Blue Hawks’ new head baseball coach and assistant football coach on Friday.
Watson spent last season as an assistant coach at NCAA Division III Franklin (Ind.) College. The four seasons before that, he was an assistant at his alma mater, Wisconsin-Platteville.
“I sat down and really thought about it,” said Watson, who will also be an instructor in the physical education department. “Having an opportunity like this doesn’t come around that often. I couldn’t see myself turning this position down. Not many coaches get to take over a program that is pretty good.”
In the 28-year-old, DSU believes it has found someone who can replace former two-sport coach Duane Monlux.
“Jason fit the mold,” DSU athletic director Tim Daniel said. “He’s got great experience in the baseball side of it, not only playing but coaching. He fit the bill there for us.”
DSU named assistant coach Andy Emard the baseball team’s interim head coach when Monlux resigned to take the head coach position at Bellevue (Neb.) University last October.
However, Emard does not have his master’s degree, which DSU requires of its head coaches. He is in third season as head coach of the Dickinson Roughriders American Legion baseball team this summer.
Daniel said he does not know if Emard will return to DSU as an assistant baseball coach.
The Blue Hawks finished the 2011 season with a 22-15 record and finished second in the Dakota Athletic Conference’s final regular-season standings. They’ve won three DAC conference championships since the league’s inception.
Watson wants to keep up with tradition even though the DSU baseball program is set to become an NAIA independent when the school becomes a member of the Frontier Conference in the 2012-13 season. The Frontier does not offer conference affiliation for baseball.
“I’m one of those coaches that I expect you to go 100 percent all the time,” Watson said. “That’s the way I played, that’s the way I was coached. That’s my mentality that I expect from my players.”
This spring, Watson was the lead assistant on a coaching staff that led Franklin to a 30-14 record, which included a 17-0 mark at home, and a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament title.
At Wisconsin-Platteville, Watson was the hitting coach for a baseball team that won the 2010 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament. That team set or broke 27 offensive school records.
In the summer of 2010, he spent time in Lafayette, Ind., as manager of the Northern Baseball Club’s 18-and-under all-stars.
He also coached for three years in the Wisconsin-Platteville football program, guiding defensive backs and receivers.
DSU did not release what role Watson will have on football coach Hank Biesiot’s staff. Monlux had been the receivers and offensive backs coach.
Watson will hit the ground running when he gets to Dickinson.
He plans to be in town Sunday, just in time for the start of the DSU football team camp. He also has some baseball recruits scheduled to visit.
“It’s kind of the perfect position for me right now,” he said. “I’m very ready to get out there and start putting a team together that’s going to compete.”