A legend returns

Father, son duo take on tennis together

Story by Ali Richter, copy editor

In the spring of 2014, Coach John Watson announced his retirement after 31 years of coaching in TISD. Watson had dealt with multiple health issues in the previous year. The tennis program grieved his departure fiercely, and he has since been viewed as a coaching legend.

“Coach Watson was a great coach who left a huge impact on every single one if his players,” former tennis Texas High tennis player Annie Tarwater said. “He had a way of making every player work harder than they thought possible and teaching players to keep fighting and never give up. Everyone that had him respected him not only as a coach but as a leader off the court as well. He definitely taught me a lot about tennis but he also taught me a lot about life.”

Now, after two years of resting up and returning to full health, Watson has decided to return to Texas High tennis. However, this time he will be taking on a different position.

“I will mostly be working with [Texas Middle School] kids but will help out with Texas High when they need me and when I can,” Watson said. “I’m very excited to be a part of the tennis program again and am looking forward to every part of the job.”

After recovering from a heart attack, Watson knew he needed to take it easy. He took a small part-time job driving for a local pharmacy, but just couldn’t stay away from the tennis courts any longer.

“I have missed being a part of the tennis program way more than I thought I would at first,” Watson said. “[Teaching tennis] is something I really enjoy doing, and everything with this job worked out well as far as timing goes.”

After Watson’s retirement, his son, Toby Watson, was hired as an assistant coach. He will be a co-head coach for the new school year alongside Ann Tarwater.

“It will be kind if strange working with my son this year but I’m really looking forward to it,” Watson said. “Although I think it will be an adjustment for both of us, it will be a good thing in the long run. I actually always hoped I would get the chance to work with him.”

Coach John Watson’s legacy is still plain to see in the Texas High tennis program, despite his absence in the past couple years.

“Coach Watson did such a great job of instilling the values we all wish for our kids,” Tarwater said. “It was very important to him to build character by teaching life lessons through tennis. Because Toby and I both learned from him, his way rubbed off on us. While we each have our own style, we definitely have brought back some things we learned from him.”

Although some things have changed while Watson was gone, the program has stayed in pretty good shape.

“I think my son and Coach Tarwater have managed to keep a lot of traditions alive in their own way with the other head coaches that were here,” Watson said. “Things may have changed a little bit since I left, but I believe that all of us coaches want Texas High tennis to be known for excellence and class, as we are all really passionate about [the team] and have the same goal of success in mind. Most importantly, I hope to continue the tradition of influencing the kids in a positive way as we prepare them for life.