June 27, 2008
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF assistant coach Beth Watson was named the head softball coach at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., University officials announced on Thursday. Watson will take over for the Aggies who finished the 2008 season with a 35-30 record on the season and only its second berth in the Lone Star Conference Championship Tournament.
Watson spent seven years as the Knights' first assistant coach, joining the team for its inaugural season in 2002. In Watson's seven years at UCF, the softball squad has totaled 278 wins and made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
The Knights finished the 2008 season ranked No. 29 nationally, its highest ranking in program history. UCF also defeated then-No. 1 ranked Florida in the NCAA Regional Championship, forcing a game-two final. The Black and Gold earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament by defeating No. 9 Houston in the Conference USA Championship, securing its first C-USA title since joining the league in 2006, while also setting a school record for most wins in a season with 49.
Since helping start the program at UCF, Watson has seen her players enjoy tremendous success. Among them was shortstop Stephanie Best, who was the first Knight to be drafted by the National Pro Fastpitch league. Best was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year three consecutive years as well as NFCA All-Southeast Region.
Watson also guided first baseman Breanne Javier to First Team All-Conference-USA honors in 2007 and 2008, while also helping place Tiffany Lane and Abby McClain on the C-USA All-Freshman squad this season.
Prior to UCF, Watson completed a successful coaching career at the University of Southern Indiana, where she amassed a record of 204-119 (.632) to become the winningest fastpitch coach in school history. In her final season, the team went 36-17 overall, while placing third in the Great Lakes Valley Conference with a 16-6 mark.
The Screaming Eagles achieved a final ranking of 14th in the nation in 1998, the same year she received honors as the GLVC Coach of the Year. They also led the nation with a .972 fielding percentage and set the school record for most wins in a season with 48.
During her six years at USI, Watson guided the team to a GLVC championship and an NCAA Division II Regional Championship berth. Overall, her players received six all-region honors and 10 all-conference honors. Two players were voted all-region three consecutive years, while three players were chosen all-conference four years in a row. She also coached a First-Team All-American and two GLVC Freshman of the Year honorees.
In addition to her duties as USI head coach, Watson served as the school's senior woman administrator. She also voted in the Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll and was a member of the Great Lakes Regional Committee for three years.
Prior to her tenure at USI, Watson was an assistant coach at Missouri State and head coach at Friends University, her alma mater. While at Friends, she was named 1989 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. She guided the softball team to two regular season conference championships and the 1989 KCAC Tournament title. She owns a career record of 306-192 (.614) in 10 years as a head coach.
During her undergraduate years at Friends, she was a three-sport athlete, earning all-conference honors in volleyball and softball, while also competing on the basketball team. Watson earned NAIA Academic All-American status in volleyball and softball.
A member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association since 1991, Watson has a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Friends University and a master's degree in educational administration from Missouri State.
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