After two seasons of coaching the Guyer boys basketball team, Trey Watts is on the move as he returns to his roots after accepting the head coaching job at Wall.
Guyer head football coach and athletic director John Walsh said the decision by Watts to leave for Wall, where he started his head coaching career from 1997-2002, came as a surprise.
“It came as a bit of a shock,” Walsh said. “He’s leaving for several personal reasons rather than professional ones, I think. He had us on the verge of a lot of success next year. I think he knows that. It was a shocker.”
Guyer finished this past season 13-15 and 4-10 in District 7-5A play, which included several close losses. This came after a 2-10 district campaign in Watts’ first season as the Wildcats’ coach.
Guyer started three sophomores last season with six seeing significant minutes, including the district’s newcomer of the year — shooting guard Miles Crawford. Freshman guard Sean Choate also had several starts in district play.
Previous to his stop at Guyer, Watts coached at Midland, White Settlement Brewer, Onalaska, Barber’s Hill and Wall.
When he was hired at Guyer two years ago, Watts said he was looking forward to helping turn Guyer’s program around after only one playoff appearance in the program’s history. While the district wins improved only two games from last season, the Wildcats were much more competitive.
“I think we started a solid foundation to the program and competed hard in every game this year,” Watts said. “I think the program is set up with a tremendous foundation. The junior high coaches have done a great job of getting the kids ready for what we’re trying to do at the high school level.”
Now, he will be looking to continue a recent string of successful seasons for Wall, a program he took to its first regional semifinal appearance in 28 seasons in his first tenure.
Since his departure, Wall has made the playoffs in nine of the last 10 seasons under head coach Doug Gordon, who replaced Watts at Wall and has accepted the Stanton job.
Watts, who will turn 40 next month, said the move was made largely for family reasons, but also said that he believes Wall is the last job he will have. Watts’ wife’s family is in Abilene and he has three young daughters.
“I’ve been around a while,” Watts said. “I’ve kind of come full circle. I really believe this is my last stop. I want to watch my girls walk the stage at Wall High School. I have friends there. I want to see my girls graduate there. I really think this is the end-game job for me.”
Walsh said Watts will be missed and appreciates the solid injection of youth and the good base for a program he helped get on the right track as the school returns to Class 4A next season due to the UIL’s biennial realignment.
“He did a good job while he was here,” Walsh said. “Coming down to 4A with the talent we have, I think we’ll do a good job in the playoffs in the coming years. I’m really shocked he’s leaving, but I think he did a really good job while he was here.”
Guyer now will hustle to find a replacement for Watts.
Walsh said he has received about 20 applications over the past week, including one from Fort Worth Arlington Heights head coach Josh Welch. Ryan defeated Arlington Heights in the Class 4A Region I final last month.
Walsh said another strong candidate is Watts’ varsity assistant, Grant Long, who was also an assistant under former Guyer head coach Nathan Moses.
“I think the timeframe will be pretty quick,” Walsh said. “We’re working toward next week. We’ve had lots of interest since it’s been posted. We have a lot of talent coming though, so we want someone who can come in and just build on what’s taken place the last few years. We want someone who can pick up where we left off with the young kids and provide that extra ingredient to put us over the top.”
Watts gave his endorsement for his assistant.
“It’s very hard as a coach to walk away from this because you put all that time in and work in, and you’d like to see it through to the end,” he said. “To not do that is tough. I hope that the staff we have — I hope they promote Grant Long to head coach and let him see it through the end with coach [Mansour] Khoury and coach [Michael] Eddy. I hope that’s what they do.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com .