Watsabaugh is Eager to Start With the Red Devils
Feeling excited about the opportunity, Rob Watsabaugh is looking forward to taking the reins of the Evanston boys’ basketball program.
The former University of Wyoming Men’s Basketball Director of Player Development is now a first-time head coach at the high school level.
Watsabaugh told WyoPreps he feels privileged to have this chance.
“To be able to be a head coach, I’m very fortunate it’s at the 4A level and get to compete against some really good schools here in the state. I’m looking forward to working with anywhere from the seventh grade to the 12th-grade level and trying to get a program in place and keep some of the good tradition they have at Evanston.”
To Watsabaugh’s point on Evanston’s tradition, the Red Devils have qualified for the state basketball tournament for 21 consecutive seasons, according to wyoming-basketball.com. The last time they didn’t make it was 1999.
“I’m really, really excited, and it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to getting going there.”
He noted it was that tradition that made it an appealing job to go after.
“The support for Evanston Athletics at the high school level, I’ve known, even in high school while I was playing (at Jackson). The community is very supportive and they are behind any and every sports team there.”
Watsabaugh also knows it will be a transition for him from working with collegiate athletes to those at the high school level.
“There will be talent at the high school level, (just) not quite the caliber of talent that the college level holds. It will be teaching some more fundamental basketball. Teaching the game, we won’t be able to get quite as in-depth with some of the offensive or defensive schemes the college level has, but definitely just trying to impact the lives of these younger kids growing up and show them some success, hopefully, get moving forward (in life) and teaching the game the right way.”
He also talked about helping players chase whatever their dream is following high school and hopefully helping them to be successful and learn some life lessons in the process.
Watsabaugh’s teams will be known for their defense.
“I fell in love with that end of the floor. I’ve had some very good mentors at the college level.”
He pointed to his junior college coach, as well as former Wyoming coaches Larry Shyatt and Allen Edwards.
“No. 1, we will dig our heels in, and we’re gonna fly around and play some good individual, as well as, team defense. Offensively, we’ll have a little bit of a transition game. We won’t necessarily play possession basketball but give our kids the best opportunity to have fun on the offensive end and not feel a whole lot of pressure on that end, kind of free, but there will be some pressure on the defensive end.”
Watsabaugh thought back to playing Evanston, he believes it was in his junior and senior year with the Jackson Broncs.
“(They were) very, very tough teams. They played hard. They did have some good talent, as well. Evanston was also a very tough place to play. I remember the support there.”
Since the Red Devils and Broncs are now in the same 4A Southwest Quadrant, they play each other two times per season. He was asked about his knowledge of the rivalry and admitted there wasn’t much of one when he played because they were in two different classifications, but now it seems to be coming back.
Watsabaugh added, “It’ll be weird going back to Jackson on the other side of the bench, for sure.”