MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois head football coach Bob Nielson announced the hiring of Mark Watson, Jr. as wide receivers coach. Watson joins the Leathernecks after spending last season at USC.
Watson worked as a graduate assistant coach for the Trojans in the secondary. USC finished 7-6 last year, losing in the Sun Bowl. The defense finished 41st in pass efficiency defense and tied for 40th in scoring defense.
Originally from St. Charles, Missouri, Watson worked for two years at Drake University as the cornerbacks coach - on staff during the 2011 season with current Leatherneck defensive coordinator Brian Ward. Both seasons that Watson spent with the Bulldogs, they led the Pioneer League in interceptions. The 2011 team won the PFL title, finishing seventh in scoring defense and 10th in total defense.
A three-year starter in the secondary, Watson began his playing career at Missouri Southern before transferring to McPherson College, where he finished his career as a two-year starter and team captain his senior year. Watson played for coach Ward for a season at Missouri Southern, and played his final two years at McPherson with Ward as his head coach.
"Mark will coach our wide receivers, and he brings unique Division I coaching experiences. He worked at Drake and most recently at USC, plus being from the St. Louis area he brings to our staff the familiarity of the metro area," said Nielson.
During his prep career at Francis Howell High School, Watson was a standout athlete in football, baseball and track. He helped his baseball squad win the 2003 Class 4A state title and was a member of the school record 4x100 relay team.
Watson earned his bachelor's degree in Business Management from McPherson in 2010.