Finding a successor to Hall of Fame Coach Arad McCutchan was never going to be an easy task for the University of Evansville’s administration - and it was made even more difficult when McCutchan’s hand-picked successor, UE alum and future Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, bowed out after less than a week on the job.
Enter Bobby Watson.
Watson - at the time an assistant coach at Oral Roberts University - came to campus for an interview. By the time he left, there was no doubt who should be the next coach of the University of Evansville’s basketball team.
“Bobby walked in the room, and he just turned everybody on,” said Thornton Patberg, then UE’s Vice President for Student Affairs.
Accepting the job represented the achievement of one of Watson’s goals in life - to become a Division I basketball coach. He would have the opportunity to coach four Division I games - including his first (and only) victory, a 91-83 victory over Pittsburgh at Evansville’s Roberts Stadium - before the crash on December 13, 1977.