Watkins joins baseball staff

University of Alabama head baseball coach Jim Wells announced Tuesday afternoon the hiring of Danny Watkins as the Crimson Tide's new assistant baseball coach. Watkins replaces Mitch Gaspard, who left Alabama to become the head coach at Northwestern State University.

"Danny is a good baseball man," Wells said. "I felt really comfortable with him. We needed someone who could recruit and evaluate talent and someone who we felt could help us on the field. Danny can do both of those things. He has been around successful programs and has head coaching experience. He has coached all phases of the game."

Watkins joins the Alabama staff after spending the last two years as an area scout for the Houston Astros. Watkins' coverage area included Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.

Watkins duties for the Crimson Tide includes working with the hitters and outfielders and recruiting.

"I am very excited about coaching at the University of Alabama," Watkins said. "This is a dream job and I am very anxious to get started and work with this program. I am also looking forward to working for Coach Wells and helping get this team back to Omaha as soon as possible."

Prior to his stint with the Astros, Watkins served as an assistant coach at San Jacinto College from 1997-99. He helped the Gators to two back-to-back runner-up finishes in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. The 1999 squad set numerous single-season batting records including average (.364), total hits (722), doubles (145), home runs (97) and on-base percentage (.461).

Before moving to San Jacinto, Watkins was named the first head coach at Vernon Regional College in Vernon, Tex. During his 10-year stint with the Chaparrals, Watkins compiled a 301-253 (.543) career record. His best single-season at Vernon was a 41-20 mark during the 1992 season. While at Vernon, Watkins coached Aubrey Huff (Tampa Bay Devil Rays) and Ramon Martinez (SF Giants), two players with Major League experience.

Watkins also led the Chaparrals to a 38-20 ledger in 1989. In addition, he was named the coach of the Texas-New Mexico Junior College All-Star team following his efforts in 1989.

Watkins was also an assistant coach for the Team USA Junior Olympic Team at the Olympic Trials in Joplin, Mo., during the summer of 1986.

Watkins broke into the coaching profession as a volunteer assistant coach at TCU (1983) before moving to Texas Tech (1984-86), where he served as a graduate assistant coach.

The Milledgeville, Ga., native was a four-year letterman and starting catcher at Georgia Tech (1979-82), where he played for Coach Jim Luck and Coach Jim Morris. He was a .296 career hitter at Tech with 18 home runs and 95 RBI.

Watkins earned his bachelor's degree in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech in 1982 and his master's degree in Sports Administration from Texas Tech in 1986.

Born October 24, 1960, Watkins is married to the former Paula Bryant and the couple has two children, James Terrell "JT" (12) and Elizabeth Nicole (10).

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