San Diego, CA. —San Diego Mesa College has announced the official appointment of Gary Watkins Jr. as the Head Football Coach for the Olympians. In 2017 while serving as the Offensive Coordinator for the Olympians, Watkins helped lead a program-changing 9-2 season and the first bowl championship in over 20 years. Watkins is entering his third season at San Diego Mesa College, and is a part of what is considered a new wave of young and innovative head coaches entering the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) in recent years.
“We are proud of the culture that Gary has established here at Mesa College, both on and off of the football field,” stated Dr. Ryan Shumaker, Dean of Athletics. “Our student-athletes are transferring to universities at high rates, many of them on full-ride scholarships. His ability to connect with our student-athletes is admirable. Gary truly embodies the Olympian Way. I look forward to working alongside him and his staff, and watching our program continue to flourish.”
In 2018, while serving as the Acting Head Coach, Watkins helped transition the Olympian football program from the American Conference into the National Conference where the program competed in one of the toughest divisions in the nation. During this season Watkins, led the Olympians to a 4-6 record overall, and was fortunate to have 11 players selected to the all-conference team and one individual selected as an honorable mention All American.
Prior to joining the San Diego Mesa College program, Watkins coached four years under Ron Ponciano at Citrus College. While at Citrus, Watkins helped lead the program to its first bowl victory in over a decade. During his time at Citrus, Watkins served as the Quarterback coach for two seasons and the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator for two seasons. Watkins came to the Owls after spending three seasons as the offensive coordinator at East Nashville High School. Prior to that, Watkins spent four seasons as the quarterbacks coach, offensive line coach, and passing game coordinator at Monte Vista High School, helping lead Monte Vista to two CIF Playoff appearances.
Before settling into the coaching ranks, Watkins was a four-year starter on the offensive line at Chapman University. Watkins prepped at Monte Vista High School, where he was a 1st team All-League and 2nd team All-County honoree, and selected to participate in the California Shrine All-Star Game. Watkins holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Chapman University and a Master’s Degree in Sports and Health Sciences from American Military University.
About San Diego Mesa College
Among the largest community colleges in California and the nation, San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, comprehensive college serving 24,000 students and offering 196 associate degree and certificate programs. Mesa College Athletics offers 21 men’s and women’s sports, and the Mesa Academics and Athletics Program (MAAP) at San Diego Mesa College empowers student-athletes to identify and achieve their educational, career, athletic and personal goals. The support program guides student-athletes to obtain an educational degree while meeting California community college and/or transfer eligibility requirements. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution, with small classes, outstanding faculty, and reputation for quality offer an unparalleled academic experience. As a Hispanic Serving Institution, Mesa College is committed to becoming the leading college of equity and excellence and to the success of all students, including underrepresented students, and more than 2,400 veterans and their families.
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