In a day and age where things come and go, trends change on a nearly daily basis, and people change professions like they’re changing shoes, the name Steve Watson has been a staple of consistency in an inconsistent world.
Ever since Dallas Center-Grimes High School was a small Class 2A school, students, athletes, teachers, and coaches alike have been aware of and come to know very well the name of Steve Watson. Now, after many years directing the math and athletic efforts, the man synonymous with consistency at Dallas Center-Grimes High School has decided to call it quits.
Mr. Watson has long been connected with success whether it be in the classroom or on the athletic playing field. For over 32 years Mr. Watson has been involved in benefiting students of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities.
“Ever since I was a kid I knew helping others was what I wanted to do and when I got the chance to teach at DC-G I knew I just had to take it,” said Watson. “Kids are our future and if we want to make our future brighter than we have to help our youth grow. It’s never been a job for me, it’s been an honor that I’ve been thankful for my entire tenure here at Dallas Center-Grimes High School.”
As instrumental as Watson has been to the athletic world his journey within the ranks of Dallas Center-Grimes schools began back in 1987 within the educational world. For almost eight years, Watson patrolled the educational and athletic halls, putting in time as a coach for a multitude of sports including track and field which was his longest tenured coaching position. Then, five years before the age of the 2,000’s came, Watson, moved up within the ranks becoming the Athletic/Activities director for DC-G.
“It was like a dream come true,” began Watson. “I had a vision of what I wanted for DC-G and it matched up perfectly with the community. I can’t thank everybody enough for allowing me to be in this position for so long because I have been able to watch young kids grown up and represent this school wonderfully.”
For his efforts, Watson was awarded the Athletic Director of the Year before the calendar turned towards the 2019 season.
On the flip side, the effect brought on by Steve Watson has impacted student-athletes for years into the future. Just ask girls head soccer coach Dan James.
“You won’t find anyone more respected than Mr. Watson,” said James. “I remember growing up with him as my math teacher and what he taught me within athletics inspired me so much that I decided to try for a head coach. It went from him being my teacher to him being my colleague and then my boss. He gave me the opportunity to not only be a head coach but to be successful and I can’t thank him enough for that.”
Ever since his days as the head football coach for Mustang football, Watson’s leadership style was very profound. It had an impact that has and still does resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds, including Watson’s successor and current Mustang head football coach Scott Heitland. During the dominant era that was Watson’s football coaching tenure, he led DC-G to their best season on record in an undefeated regular season and the furthest state tournament run the Mustangs have had in program history. Scott Heitland was able to witness all of that first hand in his very first encounter with Watson.
“I remember the first time I met up with Steve was coaching against him back in 1997 when he had that great run,” began Heitland. “We played them in the regular season and that was my first exposure with him and I just remember how fundamentally sound they were. You really get a sense of what someone values when you coach against them and Steve was so consistent and precise, that pretty much sums up him and his value to DC-G.”
Those same qualities that made him a good football coach translated well to the Athletic Director role now just for the sport of football, but for every sport as DC-G head volleyball coach Cheryl Voelker spoke about during the 2018-19 volleyball season.
“One of the things that makes Steve great is how attentive he is to each and every sport,” began Voelker. “He is almost as knowledgeable than the coaches in every sport. That means a lot to us coaches because we know that he cares and is willing to put every resource he possibly can into making each respective sport as successful as possible. That’s the biggest takeaway I would have regarding Steve.”
For over 30 years Steve Watson has watched students grown and develop within the confines of Dallas Center-Grimes High School and he states some of his fondest memories are watching the success that has been accumulated by students and student-athletes.
“There are so many great memories but I remember back to the 2010 basketball season when the boys basketball team made it to the state tournament for the first time in program history,” started Watson. “It highlighted all the years of hard work and dedication and ushered Mustang basketball into a more competitive age. From then on it’s been a solid program and it showed all the progress made and to me that’s what being an athletic director is all about.”
Now with the high school athletics chapter of his life closed, it’s onto different things for the beloved Watson, something he says he’s looking forward to.
“I’m really looking forward to doing some more traveling now that I have the time,” said Watson. “I’ll dive into some projects that I haven’t been able to get to and just enjoy the more time I have.”
If ever there was a name that has meant so much to a community it would be that of Steve Watson and for that, communities around the state of Iowa will be forever grateful.