Former WCC coach back from AZ after volleyball trip
by Mike Slodki
ELBURNâ€”How does Maple Parkâ€™s Don Watson reflect on Hall of Fame accolades?
Not by taking a step back.
Watson, who was inducted into the Waubonsee Community College Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet last month, also got back from Arizona this week where he was competing in Senior Nationals and the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship.
A former sportswriter with the Elburn Herald, Watson also remains coach of local club volleyball and the Hinckley-Big Rock girls volleyball squad.
His hall of fame honor is a long way away from the humble beginnings of his WCC tenure, when he helped establish the Lady Chiefs volleyball program in 1977 as head coach, and remained for 14 years.
â€œIt was an honor, in a sense that when I look at the others that went in (to the Hall of Fame) in years past, I knew all of them,â€ Watson said. â€œI was grateful and thrilled, it was a nice honor.â€
Watson was also the first softball coach and led the team to its first Skyway Conference title in 1980.
â€œIâ€™ve seen the Waubonsee athletic program grow a lot to where people are getting into the Hall of Fame,â€ Watson said. â€œWe had some pretty good teams over the years.â€
Watson began teaching a volleyball class in the 1980s and ran summer camps for high school players.
â€œI played with the Elgin YMCA team way back when and it was a very competitive league and thatâ€™s where I really learned the game,â€ Watson said.
With the new high school volleyball season set to begin shortly, Watson took the time to participate in mens volleyball for the sixth time in the USA Volleyball National Championships in Phoenix earlier this month, where the Chicagoland Masters took a bronze in the Mensâ€™ 75 division.
â€œThen people ask how many teams were in the bracket,â€ Watson said. â€œBut in the Menâ€™s 75 group, itâ€™s hard to get many people to compete. But the first and second-place teams were bigger and were better than we were.â€
The group that Watson participated in also had teams from Florida, Maryland and Delaware.
The hall of famer has no plans to stop doing what he loves.
â€œWith coaching high school, I feel I have to stay active,â€ Watson said. â€œI have to do what I try to teach and demonstrate sometimes what Iâ€™m talking about. Itâ€™s not just playing, you keep learning.â€