Crocker receives first Joe Watson Award

Crocker receives first Joe Watson Award


Crocker receives first Joe Watson Award


An emotional Mickey Crocker accepted the first Joe Watson Award during the Greenville Touchdown Club meeting Wednesday at the Phoenix Inn.

The award, presented to an assistant football coach in honor of the late J.L. Mann defensive coordinator and on behalf of WRIX-FM and The Evening Sports Page, will be given each week at the Touchdown Club meeting.

J.L. Mann coach Brian Strickland presented the award to Crocker, now an assistant at Palmetto High School. Crocker and Watson, who died May 16, were together for 17 years — first as assistants at Fairfield Central and then when Crocker was head coach and Watson defensive coordinator at Mann.

“This award means a lot to me,” Crocker said. “There are two men that I think about every day — one of them is my dad, and one of them is Joe Watson. … What I’m most proud of is, even though I was the head coach, I worked with Joe. Joe did not work for me. I’m proud of that, and I’m proud of this award.”

Strickland said J.L. Mann’s defensive MVP also will be named in Watson’s honor.

“Coach Watson was a tremendous influence on me,” Strickland said. “It was my first head coaching job when I came up here, and he really helped show me the ropes and how to do things the right way.”

Watson’s wife, Lucinda, son Joe Jr., daughter Julie and grandchildren Mitchell and Kelsey were in attendance.

“He was an unbelievable coach, an unbelievable person,” Berea coach Wayne Green said. “There were many times I got in a corner with Joe at a coaches clinic and we talked defensive football. He taught me a lot about how to be a coach and how to be a person.”

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