ARTICLE OF THE DAY

It's Elementary, Watson
by Brian North
9/6/06

Watson Brown has been the head coach at Alabama-Birmingham for 11 years. He has ushered the program from 1-AA to 1-A and has taken the Blazers to three bowl games in the last six seasons. Brown has built UAB into a respectable program over time that graduates players and sends a few off to the NFL almost every year. So once again the Pirates will face a team they want to be like.

Coaching is in the blood of Watson Brown. His brother Mack led Texas to the 2005 National Championship and is a former University of North Carolina coach who led the school to its greatest gridiron heights. Watson's grandfather was a legendary high school coach in Tennessee for 30 years.

Watson also has connections to ECU. The former Vanderbilt quarterback was an assistant coach under Pat Dye from 1974 to 1975 and helped the Pirates to a 15-7 record in his time in Greenville. In fact, he has rejuvenated offenses in coaching stops at Jacksonville State, Austin Peay, Mississippi State and Oklahoma.

This year his UAB team will return to Watson's roots of running the ball. They have a stable of capable running backs and a new quarterback in Sam Hunt. The Middle Tennessee State transfer passed for 149 yards and had a team high 65 yards rushing against nationally ranked Oklahoma. The Blazers lost the game 24-17 but opened some eyes with a competitive performance.

But it all starts with Brown. He is the steadying influence who has done it the right way despite playing in front of sparse home crowds. He graduates players and runs a clean program. When asked about the UAB program, Skip Holtz said the key to any success is stability. "When you look at the Bobby Bowdens and the Joe Paternos and they have the longevity of their coaching staff together. You look at Conference USA right now with Watson Brown and Southern Miss and Memphis, the better programs with coaches who are established. Coach Brown has recruited well and has depth, and when you have that on your offensive and defensive line, you are building a program." It's elementary, Watson.
 
Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com