Unlikely coach finding a home on the sides of the hardwood
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Coaching was not is Melvin Watson's game plan, but it's not a surprise that the Burke High and Gamecock legend has ended up on the sidelines of a basketball court.
"I blew out my knee and had to find a different career," said Watson.
For Watson, it was hard to turn his back on a lifetime of basketball. He made it to the highest level of the game, enjoying a cup of coffee with the Charlotte Hornets.
"It was a great experience to play in Charlotte, play with guys I saw on TV. I was star struck to be on the court with those guys. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity; I regret that I wasn't more disciplined to pursue it hard enough," he said. "I got complacent."
Watson did enjoy a successful professional career in Europe but after that ended, a chance encounter with a former Gamecock basketball fan led him to coaching.
He started as an assistant and has worked his way up to the head basketball coaching position at South Pointe High in Rock Hill.
He's now in his second season at the school.
"It's not coming natural; it's putting some age on me. It is difficult coaching the game. Every game I look to improve. I'm letting these guys teach me, love being around the kids and it is great to still be a part of the game," Watson said.
Recently, Watson coached at Burke High school, the gym where he hoisted so many banners.
Amazing to think, his former coach, Earl Brown, was not on the other sideline, but was in attendance to root on his former star.
"It's very strange to see him at Baptist Hill. I'm happy he's successful," said Watson. "I played a great four years with Coach Brown. He taught me how to be tough mentally, how to endure through adversity, I can't thank him enough."
Watson is only about 650 wins behind the legend, but the sideline is becoming home, especially when it takes him back home.