Andrew Tew, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
LAKE WALES, Fla. – Southeastern Director of Athletics Drew Watson has been named the 2020-21 Sun Conference Athletic Director of the Year the league announced on Friday.
A four-time Sun Conference Athletic Director of the Year (2013-14, 2015-16, 2018-19, and 2020-21), Watson guided Southeastern to this year’s Sun Conference Commissioner’s Cup as the Fire scored a perfect 200 points, becoming the first school to accomplish a perfect score in the Commissioner’s Cup standings.
I want to thank SEU president Dr. Kent Ingle and executive vice president Dr. Chris Owen for the opportunity they give me each day to pursue my passion,” Watson said. “The support this university gives athletics is a game changer. I would also like to thank our student athletes, coaches, and our entire staff for their dedication to excellence. Without their efforts, recognition like this does not happen and I thank God for each one of them. Finally, this award means so much to me because it’s voted on by my peers. We could not have a better group of athletic directors in the Sun. The future of our conference is bright.”
“Drew did a great job leading Fire athletics to great success over the course of the 2020-21 season,” Sun Conference Commissioner Dustin Wilke said. “Additionally, he is an outstanding representative of The Sun Conference and a deserving recipient of this year’s Athletic Director of the Year award.”
In 2020-21, SEU boasted championships in men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer (regular season and tournament), men’s and women’s indoor track & field, women’s basketball (regular season and tournament), men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, and baseball (regular season and tournament).
In the 2020-21 athletic year, the Fire secured 13 NAIA National Championship team appearances and four NAIA national championships. SEU secured individual national wrestling titles in two weight classes, as Andreus Bond was the 149 pound champion and Kyle Kirkham the 165 pound champion. At Indoor Track & Field Nationals, the SEU women’s 4×400 meter relay team won the program’s first national championship. Later in the semester at Outdoor Nationals, Jaqual Bush captured the women’s 200-meter championship. In the latest release of the Learfield Cup standings, the SEU athletic department came in at No. 8, with the final standings still to be determined.
During his tenure as athletic director, the department has grown from nine programs and 150 student-athletes to 19 programs and over 430 student-athletes. Watson has overseen the development of men’s and women’s cross country (2012), football (2013), women’s golf (2013), wrestling (2015), men’s and women’s track and field (2018), and beach volleyball (2019).
Watson currently serves on The Sun Conference Executive Committee and the NAIA’s Conduct and Ethics Committee. He is also first vice president of the NAIA’s Athletic Director’s Association (ADA). Additionally, he served as chair of the NAIA task force on divisions in basketball, working for two years on the recommendation to unify the two divisions. The change was adopted in 2018 and is in its first year of implementation during the current 2020-21 season.