Stan Watson Announces Retirement After 33 Years With Yeshiva Athletics
For over 30 years, Stan Watson has been a fixture in the Yeshiva University Athletics Department. The proud army veteran has announced that he will retire on Sept. 1.
“I am grateful to the Yeshiva University student body, and I want to thank Joe [Bednarsh] and all the staff members I worked with,” Watson said. “Small-town boy makes good. God makes no mistakes, he blesses. He has blessed me more than a small-town guy deserves. I never had a bad day during my time at YU.”
Watson came to Yeshiva University in 1986. He was the head coach of the men’s cross country team for 25 years (1986-2011). Watson was an architect of the women’s cross country program and served as the team’s first head coach from 2007-2011.
“It was the fall of 1991 when I first started working in the Gottesman Swimming Pool. Soon thereafter I met Stan Watson who was at the time a Physical Education Instructor and in charge of the Max Stern Athletic Center. I was immediately struck by his warm smile and caring personality — little did I know that over the next 28 years we would grow to love and respect each other as brothers,” Yeshiva University Director of Athletics, Joe Bednarsh said.
Watson was born in Woodruff, South Carolina and served in the 2nd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment of the “Hell on Wheels” 2nd Armored Division (Forward). He served for six months in Wildflecken Germany in 1975. He is also a charter member of the World War II Memorial Association because his father was a member of the 369th Infantry, the Harlem Hellfighters, in World War II.
During his illustrious career at Yeshiva University, Watson had stints as the head coach of the men’s golf team and the assistant coach of the men’s soccer team. In his final role at YU, he serves as the Director of Intramurals, a job he has held since 1990. He works men’s basketball games as a scoreboard and shot clock operator, as well as a line judge for men’s and women’s volleyball matches.
Yeshiva University men’s basketball alumnus and current head coach Elliot Steinmetz (’02) has known Watson for many years. “I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to walking into the gym at YU and not seeing Stan waiting there with words of encouragement or a quick story from his past,” Steinmetz said. “From being a student-athlete, to an alum, to a coach, I have never experienced YU without Stan and there’s no doubt it will be a different feel from now on.”
Every year at the awards banquet, a student-athlete on the cross country team is presented with the “Stan Watson Award.” At this year’s dinner, Mr. Bednarsh provided Watson with a plaque. When he received the plaque, all the student-athletes, administrators, staff members and guests gave Watson a long and loud standing ovation.
That wasn’t the first time that Watson was saluted by an audience. “In 2005 when I married my wife, it was one of the greatest joys of my life to dance with Stan — alone — in the center of the multiple circles of dancing,” Bednarsh explained. “And when I pulled him into the circle the crowd erupted in screams of joy — not for me, but for Stan — and that made it even sweeter.”
At YU’s commencement ceremony in 2007, Watson received the Presidential Medallion for his dedication, service and general enthusiasm which emanates from him. He received a lengthy ovation.
“I want to take this public opportunity to thank Stan for all he has done and all he has meant to so many of us that had the miraculous fortune to intertwine our lives with his,” Bednarsh said. “I also want to remind Stan that YU will always be his home and I will always be his brother.”
Watson will move back to South Carolina to return to the place where his family has lived for generations.
Photo Caption: Stan Watson
Photo Credit: YU Athletics