Watts leaves BA for Columbia Academy

Published 7:00 pm Friday, April 19, 2013

After 19 years of coaching boys basketball at Brookhaven Academy, Dale Watts, is leaving for a similar position at Columbia Academy.

“Some members of their athletic committee contacted me about the job and they gave me a five-year contract,” said Watts. “There’s no doubt that I will not make everybody happy that I coach.

“It was a challenge to me and it is my alma mater,” said Watts. “I’m not moving. I’m just changing job locations.”

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Watts, who lives just north of Summit, will coach seventh grade, eighth grade and high school basketball at Columbia Academy.

“I didn’t make this decision in a rush,” Watts added. “You feel like you have a call to go somewhere but you hate to leave some people behind at your old job.”

Columbia Academy has been promoted to Class AAA by the Mississippi Association of Independent schools. The athletic program continues to grow in size and strength.

Reid McKay currently coaches the boys and girls basketball teams at Columbia Academy. McKay will continue coaching the girls.

Oak Forest, Lamar, Copiah and East Rankin are in Division II AAA South with Columbia Academy.

“Brookhaven Academy has been great to me,” said Watts. “I felt like that was where I was supposed to be. It’s been a good situation for me. I love the people and I love the school.”

Watts said his team would be in BA’s Christmas Tournament. His wife, Lucy, will continue teaching at BA.

During his years at BA, Watts won seven state championships, including six in a row. He was inducted into the MAIS Athletic Hall of Fame last summer.

His latest BA squad finished 26-14 and placed third in the MAIS Class AA State Tournament. His teams are recognized for playing tough man-to-man defense and a disciplined offense.

Watts, 59, is a native of Marion County. He is a 1971 Columbia Academy graduate. He owns Pioneer Stables, where he raises and trains Tennessee Walking horses. He had two World Champions in last summer’s international competition at Shelbyville, Tenn.

He and his two sons, Josh and Jonathan, are fresh from showing and winning two championships at the Magnolia State Classic in Jackson.

BA also is in the market for a girls basketball coach. Bruce Allsup left after one season at the helm to be with his family in Columbus and enter private business, working for an athletic equipment company.