Watts resigns as UMBC coach 1980 Division II title highlight of 23 years COLLEGE LACROSSE

June 08, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Dick Watts, an elder statesman among the nation's lacrosse coaches who directed the 1980 NCAA Division II champions, resigned yesterday after 23 seasons in charge of UMBC.

At 64, Watts was believed to be the oldest coach among the nation's 54 Division I programs. He took over the Retrievers in dTC 1970, a year after the program was started, and in 23 seasons he compiled a 177-149 record.

Several injuries contributed to a 6-8 record this spring, the 10th time in the past 12 seasons that UMBC failed to finish above .500. The exceptions were 1991 and '92, when the Retrievers had winning records and finished in the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's top 20.

"I'm going to be 65 in August," Watts said. "I'd be walking up the hill with Arlie [Marshall, an assistant coach who played with Watts at Johns Hopkins in the 1950s] in February, it would be cold as anything, and I'd ask him, 'What are we doing out here?' I've had enough."

Watts' greatest success came in 1980, when the Retrievers won the Division II championship. It is the only NCAA title -- team or individual -- in UMBC history. The program moved up to Division I the following year and notched its eighth straight winning record. Nine seasons at .500 or below followed.

"That bothered me," Watts said. "It wasn't frustration as much as a concern to do better."

Watts, who was UMBC athletic director from 1967 to 1985, will remain at UMBC as an assistant professor of physical education. Athletic director Charlie Brown said UMBC might name a successor as soon as next month.

The program's funding has grown to the equivalent of 11 in-state scholarships, close to the NCAA limit of 12.6. Brown wasn't entirely pleased with the on-field return, but Watts said he was not pressured to resign.

Watts, a native of Baltimore, was an All-America defenseman for Johns Hopkins in 1956. He coached at the Friends School and Kenyon (Ohio) College before coming to UMBC.

He served two terms as chairman of the NCAA lacrosse committee, and in 1987 he was the first non-athlete inducted into the UMBC Athletic Hall of Fame.

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