Longtime Benedict hoops coach leaving school for Miles College

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Longtime Benedict basketball coach Fred Watson is leaving the program.

Watson has been selected as the next men’s basketball coach at Miles College, according to the school.

“When the search process started, our mission was to find a coach who possessed two defining characteristics:  a relentless recruiter, and someone who has been part of building a winning culture in the SIAC. These characteristics were non-negotiable,” said Miles College Director of Athletics Reginald Ruffin.  “With Coach Watson, we not only found a proven recruiter and winner, but we also found someone with an unwavering commitment to engaging and motivating communities throughout basketball.  His commitment to developing young men into great athletes is astounding, but most importantly, developing great scholars is more impressive.  We can’t wait for the Miles College family to meet and embrace our new coach.”

For the past 16 years, Watson has coached at his alma mater, Benedict College, and consistently had his teams among the elite in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and on the national level. Last season, he won his 300th career game and has a record of 320-150 (.681 winning percentage). Watson has had winning seasons for the past 15 consecutive years, eight 20-win campaigns, five SIAC Regular Season titles and five SIAC Tournament championships.

“We are committed to building a perennial championship program at Miles College, and I believe that Coach Fred Watson will lead us in that direction,” said Dr. George T. French, Jr., President of Miles College  “His record speaks of his accomplishments and makes me comfortable that we have found the right person to lead this program to success on the court and in the classroom.”

Additionally, Watson has been named SIAC Coach of the Year six times, his teams have earned nine NCAA South Region Tournament berths and one Sweet 16 Appearance. Just as important, Watson done an outstanding job matriculating his players, with an 85 percent graduation rate of his student-athletes.

“This is a great opportunity for myself and my family,” Watson said.  “We’re excited to join the Miles College family and look forward to embracing the Fairfield and Birmingham communities.  Having coached in the SIAC for the past 16 years, I’ve been impressed by the tremendous support this program has received.  We’re excited for what this job has the potential to become and we’re up to the challenge, not to just develop great athletes but to follow the recipe of (Miles College President) Dr. George T. French, Jr., which is to develop great scholars that will one day become productive citizens.”

Categories: Local Sports, Sports