Ken Watson

Ken Watson

Year of induction

Ken became secretary of the Victoria Basketball association one year after its official formation in 1931. Ken was attributed to keeping the sport alive during the second world war 1939 – 1945. He was deemed ineligible to be called up for military service and his work maintaining a junior program and his own Church competitions meant the sport still had membership until life returned to normality after the war. During the period 1932 -1974 Ken Watson was a player, player/coach and coach of the Church club which later became known as the Melbourne Tigers. It is difficult to imagine a more impressive record by any major sport’s club winning or reaching the final 30 times during the period.

Ken Watson was appointed to the head coaching position of our first Olympic Games men’s team in 1956 and again in 1968, He became a pioneer of international competition for a club team when the Tigers were the first to undertake a tour of USA colleges in 1966. The success of that first tour led to many more in ensuing years until the NCAA changed their rules disallowing pre season competition against international teams for their first division schools shortly after the turn of the century. Ken also initiated the recruitment of USA college players after undertaking a study tour including a short stay at Auburn University where he learnt more about the now famous “shuffle offense”. The impact that first recruit, Fred Guy, had on basketball in Australia meant other clubs were quick to follow suit, thus changing and improving the standard of the sport significantly.

Despite Ken Watson’s outstanding success as a senior coach his main passion was coaching junior teams. He was responsible for establishing the Victorian Junior basketball Council and his administrative skill ensured Victorian junior teams would dominate national junior championships, at least after 1963. Victoria had never won a national junior championship prior to 1964 when Ken took over the coaching of the state under16 team. That became the first of a succession of national championships for Victoria, although Ken relinquished his coaching role after setting the groundwork for others who followed.

The Melbourne Tigers junior teams coached by Ken Watson set the standard for method, discipline, admirable conduct and on court success. His legacy lives on.

Without Ken’s vision and dedication the club would not be what it is today and for that reason tonight we induct Ken Watson as a Legend of the Melbourne Tigers Hall of Fame.