When Sweetwater High School began its search for a new head baseball coach, most onlookers likely didn’t expect Athletic Director Mike Martin to produce one with collegiate-coaching experience.
But that’s exactly what happened.
Sweetwater has hired former Tennessee Wesleyan head coach Travis Watson as its new head baseball coach, Martin announced on Wednesday, July 31.
“(Watson is) a local boy that knows the area, that kind of knows the way of the land if you want to call it,” Martin told The Advocate & Democrat. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the way he communicates with his players and communicates with kids and teaches and works with kids.
“We talked for a while, went back and forth. He had to do his due diligence also. We kind of felt each other out and we were good to go.”
Martin said that even though the job was only posted on the Monroe County website, the opening still produced “several” applicants. In fact, according to Martin, multiple applicants had experience coaching in the college ranks, including one that was also interviewing for a college job, for which he was ultimately hired.
“In any hiring that we do here (at Sweetwater High School), we try to select the best candidate that we think will fit our community and fit our kids, because it is all about our kids,” Martin said. “And we want somebody that can come in here and develop players also … I had several applicants, several good applicants.”
Watson led TWU’s program for two seasons between 2015-2017, notching a 91-35 overall record with the Bulldogs. He resigned in June of 2017 to pursue other interests, according to TWU’s release then.
Before being hired by TWU, Watson, a Sweetwater native, was Faulkner University’s associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, where he was named the 2014 Alabama Baseball Coaches Assistant Coach of the Year. He coached first base, hitters and infielders at Lee University prior to his stint at Faulkner. Watson has also coached at Hiwassee College and Middle Tennessee State University. He played college baseball at Roane State Community College, the University of Tennessee-Martin and Mobile.
Watson replaces Chris Armstrong, who resigned as Sweetwater’s head coach earlier in July to take the head baseball coach and head golf coach jobs at Carter High School. Armstrong said his decision to leave Sweetwater for Carter was made due to what would be best for his family. Carter is closer to home for him.
“I loved it here,” Armstrong said following his resignation. “I really did. I didn’t plan on going anywhere. It kills me to have to leave this group of boys after everything we’ve been through. But we came here, tried to work on facilities, tried to turn the baseball program to all-time new heights. And we succeeded that.
“When it’s time to go, it’s time to go, and it just happened to be now … I want to thank Coach (Mike) Martin and Coach (Eric) Weaver for the opportunity. I appreciate everything that they’ve done for me and giving me the opportunity to come here and be able to do what we’ve done.”