"I am tremendously excited to join the University of Missouri Tigers coaching staff and work with Quin Snyder," Watkins said. "I love to teach and I love to coach but I had to make sure it was the right situation to go to. Quin is a quality person whose heart is in the right place. He is a first rate coach and I am eager to complement his efforts in bringing a championship to Columbia, Missouri."
Truly one of the quality individuals in all of college basketball, Watkins brings 26 years of coaching experience to Columbia. He recorded a 102-131 record in eight seasons as a head coach. No stranger to the post-season, Watkins has registered a 2-2 mark in the NCAA Tournament and was named the Conference USA Ray Meyer Coach of the Year in 1997.
"The four most important qualities we were looking for in this coaching search were: character; high-prioritization of academics; vast coaching and teaching experience; and strong recruiting ability," Coach Snyder said. "Melvin Watkins possesses all of those qualities. In every conversation I had with people about Melvin, they spoke of his great character and integrity."
"Melvin has also competed at the highest level, both as a player and coach and that breadth of experience is invaluable," Snyder continued. "He has been in the middle of the Big 12 battles and will offer unique insight when it comes to our own conference. Our players will benefit from a coach and teacher like Melvin and he will certainly enhance my abilities as a coach and be a tremendous asset to the Missouri basketball program."
The former all-conference point guard and team captain at UNC Charlotte during his playing days is regarded as an outstanding recruiter. In his six years as head coach at Texas A&M, Watkins brought eight National Top 100 recruits to campus including the school's fourth all-time leading scorer, Bernard King. Watkins also put an emphasis on academics during his time at A&M as 14 of the 17 players who completed their eligibility at TAMU went on to graduate. The three non-graduates are playing pro basketball overseas. Watkins' program also turned out 15 Academic All-Big 12 first or second team members during his six years at the helm.
Prior to his time at Texas A&M, Watkins was an icon of UNC Charlotte basketball, helping the team to the Final Four as a player in 1977, then spending 18 years as an assistant before being named head coach in 1996. He was involved in every 20-win season and all 10 postseason tournament appearances in the school's history prior to his move to Texas A&M.
In two seasons as head coach at UNCC, Watkins led the 49ers to a 42-20 record and two straight NCAA Tournament first-round victories. UNC Charlotte posted a two-year conference record of 23-7 and advanced to the Conference USA Tournament finals both years.
Watkins was a 1973 High School All-American and was also the team captain of the Reidsville (N.C.) High School state championship team his senior year. He was a three-year starter at Reidsville from 1970-73. The consummate family man, Watkins is married to the former Burrell Bryant. They are the proud parents of sons Manuale and Marcus and daughter Keia.
The Watkins File
o Name: Melvin Watkins
o Birth date: Nov. 15, 1954
o Birthplace: Reidsville, N.C.
o Wife: Burrell (Bryant)
o Children: Keia, Marcus and Manuale
o Education: B.A. Economics, UNC Charlotte, 1977
o Reidsville (N.C.) High School, 1973
o 1998-2004 – Head Coach, Texas A&M University (60-111 record)
o 1996-98 – Head Coach, UNC Charlotte (42-20 record)
o 1987-96 – Associate Head Coach, UNC Charlotte
o 1978-87 – Assistant Coach, UNC Charlotte
o 1998 NCAA Tournament (1-1 record)
o 1997 NCAA Tournament (1-1 record)
o 1997 Conference USA Division Champions
o 1997 Conference USA Ray Meyer Coach of the Year
o Habitat for Humanity "Home Building Project"
o Co-chair, Battered Women's Shelter
o 100 Black Men of Charlotte
Playing Career o 1977-78 Buffalo Braves (fourth-round NBA Draft)
o 1973-77 UNC Charlotte