One of the two Creston basketball coaching vacancies has been filled, as Brett Watson has been hired as the next head coach of the Panther boys basketball team.
Watson has served as the head girls basketball coach at Adel-DeSoto-Minburn for the past four years, compiling a record of 31-60 over his four years at the helm. He was the assistant boys basketball coach for the Tigers the five years previous to that.
“I’m excited,” Watson said on Tuesday. “Very excited and very humbled, too. It’s a great program with a lot of tradition. And a very prestigious league in the Hawkeye 10. I’m ready to get to work. Ready to get to work in the community. I’m excited about the boys we have returning and to see what we can do.”
Watson was one of four finalists to be interviewed for the Creston boys basketball vacancy.
Creston activities director Jeff Bevins said all four finalists were solid candidates, but that Watson stood out from the crowd.
“Brett came out on top in a lot of different things,” Bevins said. “He’s young, energetic and wants to get after it. We’re really happy that he’s able to come down. He’s determined that he’s going to do what it takes to get the job done and get us on the road to keep getting better.”
Bevins said part of the reason Watson found the job enticing was because of what the city of Creston has to offer, including Greater Regional Medical Center and Southwestern Community College.
Watson will replace Billy Hiatt, who went 39-28 in his three seasons as head coach of the Panthers.
He will also take over Hiatt’s position as Creston High School’s success coordinator.
“I’m very excited about the talent that is coming back,” Watson said. “They’ve got some good players. They have great tradition, too. The future is definitely bright and I think we look for big things to happen next year.”
The Panthers return a strong group of seniors for next year’s team, including Class 3A third-team all-stater Jay Wolfe. Other members of next year’s senior class include McClain Haines, Christian Groumoutis, Sam Hartsock, Alex Nielsen and Jake Miller.
Each candidate for the job had the opportunity to talk with next year’s group of seniors.
“When we talked with coach Watson, when he came back in afterwards, he said he had an awesome discussion with the guys and he can’t wait to meet the rest of them,” Bevins said. “He’s ready to go. I think he was ready to go yesterday.”
So what style of play can Creston fans expect from Watson’s team next year?
“I think we want to live up to the definition of what a Panther is,” Watson said. “When you look at that picture, I’d like to see that on the floor. Panthers are known to be aggressive, get up in your face. We want to play that way at both ends of the floor. It’s fun to play that way, fun to watch, fun to coach. We want to be aggressive and attack both ends. Just really be what Panthers are about.”
Watson enjoyed a storied high school career at Elk Horn-Kimballton before continuing his basketball career at Wayne State University.
He scored 50 or more points in a single game twice during his high school career and scored 805 points in his junior season in 1999.
Watson currently ranks as the seventh all-time leading scorer in Iowa high school history with 2,355 points during his career that spanned 1997-2000. He ranks right behind Murray’s Austin Halls, who scored 2,360.
He played point guard at 6-7 for Elk Horn-Kimballton, but played small forward at Wayne State.
Watson, 32, will be joined in Creston by his wife and 1-year-old son.