TEXAS A&M'S MELVIN WATKINS RESIGNS

After finishing the 2004 season with an 0-16 record in Big 12 conference play, Texas A&M head basketball coach Melvin Watkins, under pressure from the university, resigned Wednesday. Watkins has three years remaining on his contract and will reportedly receive a $600,000 settlement.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity the university gave me, but it's time to move on," Watkins said. "I'm proud of the young men on this team. I regret that we weren't able to enjoy more success this year, but I feel confident that we have built a solid foundation for the future of the program."

Watkins completes his career at Texas A&M with a 60-111 record over six seasons. He succeeded former coach Tony Barone who finished his final season at A&M with an identical record of 0-16.

"I have accepted head coach Melvin Watkins' resignation effective immediately at the end of the season," A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne said. "I thank Melvin sincerely for the high class and positive image with which he represented Texas A&M University for six years. I wish him all the best as he goes forward in his career. I will conduct a vigorous and thorough search to find a coach who will best fit into our philosophy and will build a successful Big 12 program."

Watkins arrived at A&M after leading his alma mater, the University of Carolina-Charlotte, to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1997 and 1998. In his six years at A&M, Watkins did not post a winning record and never won more than games.

"It has been a tough year, no doubt about it. I am never going to get too high and I am never going to get too low -- that is just the way I choose to live my life. If you go in and give things your best shot, then you have nothing to hang your head about," Watkins said in a Texas A&M press release before Wednesday's Big 12 tournament game against Missouri.

Texas-El Paso coach Billy Gillispie leads the list of names most mentioned as Watkins' successor. The Miners went 6-24 in Gillispie's first season and are 22-6 heading into the Western Athletic Conference tournament Thursday.


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