MSU Athletic Director Steps Down

February 27, 2007

Reported by KPLC Staff

McNeese State athletic director Sonny Watkins has announced his retirement effective in June of 2007.

Now in his 10th year as the university's athletic director, Watkins has been player, coach and athletic director at McNeese during an association that began in 1962.

In his tenure as athletic director, the university achieved only the second all-sports trophy in the school's history, won a total of 13 conference titles and saw advancement in competition and construction of facilities.

He also received recognition as one of the nations top athletic directors from the All-American Football Foundation. I want to thank Sonny Watkins for his many years of service to McNeese State University, university president Dr. Robert Hebert said. I know that this is a decision he has been planning for some time and wish him well in all of his future endeavors.

Watkins said, "I'm very proud to say that I had the opportunity to serve as the McNeese State athletic director. I have enjoyed my years here. Every day in this position I felt that I learned something. I thank the good Lord that I was able to do things that others may only dream about. I am still active and in good health. I will not stop and do nothing. We've got a horse farm and that takes a lot of time. Ill be doing something, somewhere."

A native of Lake Charles, Watkins was a standout athlete at LaGrange High and went on to letter four years in basketball at McNeese under Ralph O. Ward.

He later became an assistant coach for Ward and then served McNeese as co-head women's basketball coach and assistant athletic director before assuming the top role in 1997.

In his 10 seasons as athletic director, McNeese won five football titles, three basketball crowns, two baseball titles and one championship each in men's cross country, women's volleyball and women's soccer.

He brought a standing room only crowd into Cowboy Stadium when he scheduled Grambling for a home game and he placed McNeese football into the national spotlight with games on the road against such teams as Nebraska, Miami, Texas A&M and Kansas State.

Twice the Cowboy football team played in the 1-AA national championship game.             Watkins was instrumental in the construction of the new track and field complex at the university, in obtaining funds for the soon-to-be constructed women's athletic complex and the funding of and construction of the 1.6 million dollar electronic scoreboards for all sports.             He has served on various committees for the Southland Conference including the championship committee for which he now serves as chairman. Watkins also served on the NCAAs 1-AA regional football selection committee.