Lou Watson, a Jeffersonville native who played baseball and basketball at Indiana University, and later coached the Hoosier basketball team from 1965-1971, died Thursday at the age of 88 in Fairfax, Va.
Prior to his collegiate career, Watson served in the Navy from 1943-46, participating in the Normandy invasion during World War II.
At Indiana, Watson helped the IU baseball team to the Big Ten title in 1948. He was also a starter all four years with the basketball team under coach Branch McCracken, earning first team All-Big Ten and All-American honors as a senior in 1950. Watson was also the team MVP as a junior and senior.
After his playing career was over, Watson coached freshmen basketball at IU in 1951 and ’52, enjoyed a short stint as a high school coach at Huntington and returned to Indiana to coach freshmen again in 1956 and ’57 before becoming an assistant coach in 1958 under McCracken.
Watson succeeded McCracken as head coach for the 1965-66 season and led the Hoosiers to the 1967 Big Ten title the following year.
Bob Knight replaced Watson as Indiana head coach in 1971, while Watson became a special assistant to the athletic director and served as an associate director of athletics from 1976 until his retirement in 1987.
He is a member of both the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame.
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