|Title:||Director of Intercollegiate Athletics|
Since joining the St. Bonaventure family in 2006, Steve Watson
has made an indelible mark on campus. From unparralleled athletic
success and consistent academic achievement to major
facilities improvements, Watson's tenure has been marked by
watershed moments and significant progress.
In 2007, Watson hired Mark Schmidt as the new men's basketball coach. Schmidt turned around the fortunes of the proud program, winning the first Atlantic 10 Championship in team history and earning their first NCAA Tournament berth in 12 years in 2012. Schmidt's teams have been consistently competitive in one of the top conferences in the nation. The St. Bonaventure women's basketball team has also broken all of its win records under Watson's watch, including the 2011-12 season when the Bonnies went to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time and finished 31-4. Other noteworthy athletic success during Watson's leadership include back-to-back A-10 men's swimming championships in 2013 and 2014, six consecutive A-10 Tournament berths by the women's soccer team, and the best seasons ever for the men's and women's cross country programs.
Bona student-athletes have been consistent achievers in the
classroom during Waston's time, routinely earning a higher
cumulative Grade Point Average as a group than the student body as
a whole. The Bonnies have also earned their best-ever Academic
Progress Rates (APR) under Watson's guidance.
Watson has led numerous facilities projects, most notably a $2 million upgrade to the University's multi-purpose field for soccer, lacrosse and club rugby that will be completed in time for the 2014 soccer seasons. This project was a direct result of the new Athletics Strategic Plan entitled "Your Teams, Our Extraordinary Future" that Watson co-chaired and unveiled in 2012. Watson has also organized the construction of a new, $300,000 locker room for the women's basketball team as well as a $200,000 renovation of the men's basketball locker room. In 2008, "Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center" was christened, featuring a new playing surface, scoreboards, backboards, and sound system in addition to the tribute to St. Bonaventure's most famous alumna.
Watson serves on several committees within the St. Bonaventure community, including the Senior Management Council and the Athletics Hall of Fame Committee. Watson recently served as the Chair of the University campaign for the United Way and has been a co-chair of the United Way of Cattaraugus County.
Passion for and loyalty to were among the themes Watson
emphasized during his introductory press conference on Dec. 13,
"The one thing that really drew me to St. Bonaventure more than anything else was the passion people have for athletics here and the loyalty that they've shown over the years. (Athletics) are important. People care. People are loyal and they've stuck through things, good and bad. This is home. I grew up here. My first memories are in the Reilly Center. It's in my heart ... I'm passionate about this place."
"Building relationships is what I think this job is all about. It's relationships on campus, relationships with alumni, relationships in the community, student-athletes and coaches," Watson said. "This (athletic) department is not going to be able to survive without the support and help of everyone. We need support, we need help ... the only way to do that is to build relationships."
Prior to his arrival on the southwestern New York campus, Watson was the associate athletics director at Eastern Michigan since 2002. Before that appointment, he was the assistant athletics director for facilities and operations at Eastern Michigan from July 2001 to August 2002. Prior to his stint with the Eagles, Watson worked at the University of Dayton from 1999-2001 as director of marketing and promotions; and at the University of Georgia as a marketing assistant from 1998-1999.
Among his professional accomplishments, Watson helped quadruple corporate sponsorships during his tenure at Dayton and enjoyed a 95 percent success rate in retaining corporate sponsors there; was responsible for administrative oversight for 12 of Eastern Michigan's 21 sports programs; and led a new external operations leadership group that coordinated media and financial support programs for EMU.
As a collegiate student-athlete, Watson played basketball at Rutgers for two seasons before transferring to Bowling Green, where he also played basketball and earned a bachelor's degree in interpersonal and public communications in 1990.
Watson earned a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1998. After college, the 6-foot-8 forward spent six years playing professional basketball in Europe and Asia.
Watson, grew up in Franklinville, N.Y., and graduated from Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean. Watson's late father, Dr. John Watson, taught in St. Bonaventure's School of Business since 1975 and served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. He served as the dean of the School of Business until his passing in 2011. His mother, Suzanne, was a computer science lecturer at St. Bonaventure until she retired recently.
Watson and his wife, Ann, have three children: Abby, Allison and Jackson.