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Watts feels twice blessed

Brookhaven Academy coach Dale Watts feels like he is twiceblessed. Watts is able to enjoy exceptional coaching success withthe Cougars while his two sons take care of their growing businessat Pioneer Stables in Summit.

Watts is basking on the summit of basketball success. He recentlycoached his Cougars to an unprecedented sixth straight MAIS ClassAA State Tournament championship.

Naturally, Watts has corralled another Coach of the Year Award onThe DAILY LEADER’s 2010 All-Lincoln County Boys Basketball Team.This is the 10th time for him to earn that honor. He happily sharesit this year with Loyd Star’s Gene (Moochie) Britt.

“I’ve been blessed with some very good, dedicated and outstandingbasketball players who were exceptional athletes,” said Watts.”Here at BA, the parents are dedicated at making their kids striveto reach their best potential.”

Watts, 56, has been in the coaching business for 36 years, the last16 at Brookhaven Academy. In the last six years, his teams havecompiled an impressive record of 188 wins and 36 losses on theirway to state titles.

The Cougars (29-7) had two senior starters in the lineup duringtheir march to the state championship. Jake Reed and Jamison Powellwere exceptional players and leaders on the team. Also in thelineup were Sidney Chaffin, Brock Smith and Bubba Keene, plus sixthman Mark Rushing. Two players sidelined by injuries most of theseason were Brennan Miller (broken arm) and Gage Posey (tornhamstring).

“Jamison and Jake were great leaders for us,” said Watts. “Theywere dedicated and stayed the course. They leave some large shoesto fill.”

Watts started the season slowly since some of his players weremembers of BA state championship football team that went unbeatenand won the state title Nov. 27.

“We had some tough teams scheduled early in the season but we hadsome competitive kids,” said Watts. “We really came into our ownlate in the season.”

Watts saw his team finish second to Bowling Green in the SouthState finals held in BA’s John R. Gray Gymnasium. They regroupedand beat Bowling Green decisively in the state tournament finals atIndianola Academy.

Horse Business Up

Despite the sagging economy, Watts says his business is growing.His two sons, Josh and Jonathan, take care of the daily chores:training, showing and maintaining a barn full of expensiveTennessee Walking horses.

“I’m thankful for being here,” said Watts. “My sons do most of thework while I’m coaching the basketball teams.”

Watts compares his time away from the horses to rest andrecreation. He enjoys practice and preparing his teams for games.He begins coaching the boys in the seventh grade and stays withthem through the 12th grade, when they graduate.

“What I like about our program is that I can start coaching them inthe seventh grade,” said Watts. “We implement the same system ateach level. It’s Cougar basketball and they know what is expectedof them.”

Tradition runs deep and the younger players can gaze at sixstraight championship banners hanging from the rafters of John R.Gray Gymnasium.

Watts has served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher FirstBaptist Church of Summit. His wife, Lucy, is his biggestsupporter.