Former Indiana coach Lou Watson passes away

  • 05/25/2012 10:31 pm in

Lou Watson, who played both baseball and basketball at Indiana University and later served as the head basketball coach from 1966-71, passed away on Thursday at the age of 88.

The IU Athletic Department issued the following release on Friday evening:

Former Indiana University player and coach Lou Watson passed away, May 24 in Fairfax, Virginia. He was 88.

The Jeffersonville, Indiana native won basketball letters in 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950 and won baseball letters in 1949 and 1950. He played on IU’s only regular season Big Ten Championship baseball team in 1948. He was IU’s Most Valuable Player in basketball in 1949 and 1950 and was named first team All-Big Ten in 1950 and All-American in 1950. He was Indiana’s all-time scoring leader at end of career.

Watson later coached freshmen at Indiana in 1951, 1952, 1956 and 1957 and moved to varsity in 1958. Watson became head coach from 1966-71, guiding the Hoosiers to a Big Ten co-championship in 1967. He became special assistant to the Athletic Director in 1971 and Associate Director of Athletics in 1976 before retiring in 1987.

He was inducted into the IU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.

Men’s basketball Coach Tom Crean on Lou Watson
“Lou Watson was a part of so many of the historic moments of Indiana basketball and accomplished so many great things during his Hall of Fame career.  My first meeting with him came at his home in Ellettsville and it was a great afternoon.   It was a tremendous honor to have him visit our Elite Camp in 2009 with so many of the other former greats in attendance that afternoon. To see him return later that year with his family to serve as an honorary captain and to hear that ovation he received when he was introduced, I know it made his heart proud. Those were moments that I will never forget and his picture receiving the game ball with his grandsons has been displayed proudly in our locker room since that day.”

Vice President/Director of Athletics Fred Glass on Lou Watson
“Lou Watson was a true Hall of Fame Hoosier in every sense of the word. His association to the University and the athletic program spanned over five decades first as a standout baseball and basketball player in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, second as a coach for the men’s basketball program from the 1950’s until the early 1970’s and finally as an administrator for the program until 1987. It was great to see him back in 2009 as an honorary coach. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. “

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  • jgon86

    Rest in peace Coach. Thank you for everything you have done for our university.

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    R.I.P. Coach.

    Missed, but never forgotten.

    Go Hoosiers!

  • jack_j100

    Thanks Coach for your outstanding service to IU as a player, coach and so much more.

  • Hoosierfan60

    RIP Coach. He was coach at IU when I became aware of the basketball Hoosiers as a youngster. It was his last year there. I started following them the next year with their brash young coach name Bobby Knight. I was 12 and discovered a whole new baskeball world outside of the NBA/ABA that I loved back then.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Rest in peace Mr. Watson, and from one Hoosier to another….thank you. What a tremendous role he played in establishing our tradition. I didn’t know him but I am sure he was an excellent man.