Vanessa Watson, a veteran with 30 years of head coaching experience in the New Jersey high school ranks, joined the DSU women’s basketball program in July of 2015.
“Coach Watson will be great asset to our women’s basketball program,” said head coach Barbara Burgess. “She brings years of experience with developing and motivating players to be the best they can be. Her track record for State Championships in the State of New Jersey is like no other.”
Posting a 720-109 overall record while at the helm at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, N.J., which is her alma mater, Watson is one of the most prestigious coaches in the history of the state. Her championship pedigree includes six New Jersey Tournaments of Championship titles, 10 state championships, 18 state sectional championships, 17 Essex County championships and 16 conference crowns. She also sent several players to Division I programs, most notably Matee Ajavon (Rutgers), who is a seven-year WNBA veteran currently playing for the Atlanta Dream.
As a member of the Newark Athletic and New Jersey State Coaches Hall of Fame’s, notable accolades for Watson includes a New Jersey State Coach of the Year honor (2003), three Tri-State Coach of the Year awards (2003, 2004, 2013), Star-Ledger Coach of the Year recognition (2004), Northeast Regional Coach of the Year honoree (2004) and garnering District Coach of the Year honors in 2006.
Watson has also manned the sidelines for numerous All-Star games, headlined by being selected for the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic All-American East squad. Also, she served as a coach for the USA Basketball 17 under and 18 under Trials Court squads. Watson also participated with Nike during its Skills Academy and as a coach for its WBCA All-American Team.
Educationally, Watson received her bachelor’s degree in Health & Physical Education from Virginia State (1980), whereas she earned her master’s degree from University of Phoenix in Educational Administration & Supervision (2007). As a player, Watson was the starting point guard for Virginia State as a senior, who went on to win the 1980 Central intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament Championship.