BLOOMINGTON — Rich Watson enjoyed his first stint as Bloomington High School girls basketball coach, and he’s ready to try it again.
BHS athletic director Tony Bauman announced Tuesday that pending school board approval, Watson will take the reins of the Purple Raiders’ girls program for a second time.
Watson previously coached BHS for four seasons from 2000-01 to 2003-04. While compiling a 52-54 record, Watson was 35-19 the final two seasons.
“I enjoyed working with the kids. I had a passion for it,” Watson said. “But there were more important things at that time. There was a health situation in my family, and it was time to be a dad.
“I always kind of targeted when my youngest went off to college. She headed off to college, and Bloomington was open at the right time. I threw my name in and it worked out. This is a different part of my life, and I’m blessed with the opportunity to do it again.”
Tom Whiting began last season as the BHS coach. Rich Rector finished as interim head coach. The Raiders had a 9-20 record and were 3-6 in the Big 12 Conference.
“Rich (Rector) did a tremendous job stepping in for us at a difficult time,” said Bauman. “We are thankful for what he did for us last year.”
An English teacher at BHS, Watson is wrapping up his 20th year at the school. He previously served as Ridgeview girls basketball coach and coached varsity baseball and sophomore boys basketball at Iroquois West.
“We are very excited to have a teacher back as our head coach,” Bauman said. “Rich is in our building, knows our kids and has experience from before. He’s always stayed connected to the game of basketball even when he wasn’t coaching.
“He’s shown he knows what it takes to grow a program, and that’s something very important to us. The goal is to get better every day and bring excitement to the game where players want to be a part of it. He’s shown he can do that, and we’re confident he can do that again for us.”
Watson has a goal of developing the BHS program “all the way through. It will be based on solid fundamentals across the board. As we build fundamentals on the court and in the classroom, do things the right way and build positive habits, all the things we want to happen will happen.”