2012 COACHING-GOLF INDUCTEE
At the time of his induction, Watney had groomed 29 All-Americans and 17 All-American Scholars, and his teams had captured 13 conference championships over 33 seasons as Fresno State golf coach. In recognition of his invaluable contributions to the game, Watney was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of American Hall of Fame in 2006. Watney’s coaching skill is evidenced by the Bulldogs who went on to win PGA Tour tournaments: nephew Nick Watney, Tim Norris, and Kevin Sutherland. In addition, David Sutherland, Todd Rose, Joe Acosta, and Tim Loustalot earned PGA Tour cards. Local golfers – duffers and scratch players alike – Mike Schy, Ed Luethke, Eric Peterson, Paul Wightmen, Ken Collins, and Todd Hansen became club professionals.
Watney’s influence on collegiate golf bought the NCAA Championships to Fresno’s San Joaquin Country Club in 1983 and the NCAA Western Regionals to Madera’s Riverbend Golf Club in 2000. Under Watney, the Bulldogs qualified for the NCAA Championships 25 times, highlighted by a school-best fifth-place in 1990 and a No.3 final national ranking in 1987. Watney was honored as district or region coach of the year three times (1987, 1994, 2002) and nine times as Big West Conference or Western Athletic Conference coach of the year. Watney is recognized internationally, serving as a liaison between Japanese and U.S. golf for the Topy Cup. The event annually sends four men’s and two women’s collegiate teams to Japan. Watney was a golf standout at Fresno State, earning honorable mention All-American honors in 1973. The Bullard High graduate competed on the PGA Tour in 1978 then became Fresno State coach in 1979.