Tyler Watson ’09 not only grew up on the Baylor campus, he also grew big and strong, playing football for the Raiders as a senior at 6'3" and a lean 260 pounds.
Since May of 2019, he has taken on the task of making some of the best college athletes in the country a little bigger and a lot stronger as the director of women’s basketball performance for the Lady Vols at the University of Tennessee.
Tyler graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2014 with a degree in exercise science and went on to earn several professional credentials, including USAW Level 1 sports performance certification from USA Weightlifting. He served internships with the University of Southern Mississippi, Vanderbilt University, and the NFL’s Buffalo Bills before holding strength and conditioning coach positions at Clemson, Tennessee State, Elon, and Missouri State. At UT, Tyler is responsible for oversight of all aspects of strength and conditioning for the Lady Vols’ basketball team, including nutrition and recovery modalities.
The Lady Vols’ basketball program has been one of the most successful in college athletics, winning eight NCAA championships and making 18 Final Four appearances, but it has been rebuilding for the last few years. Tyler, a Tennessee fan since child-hood, is happy to lend a hand. “It is an honor to work with such a prestigious program, and I feel extremely blessed to help rebuild what remains one of the greatest programs in women’s sports history,” he says. “The university takes tremendous pride in this program, and the level of commitment here is unparalleled. The athletes I work with come to the weight room with tremendous energy and enthusiasm. Our goal is to keep building the legacy of the program with relentless hard work and determination, on and off the court.”
Tyler pursued a coaching career in part because of the influence of his father, Tom Watson, who has coached football and girls’ softball, as well as serving as an Upper School math instructor and dorm parent. He also cites other Baylor staff members as sources of his coaching philosophy. “Baylor is an incredible place, but at the end of the day, it will always start and end with the people there,” he says. “Coaches like Dave Reynolds, Brice Johnson, Julian Kaufman, and Eric Westmoreland taught me how to train like an athlete, and I use principles I learned from them to train the athletes at UT. Coaches like Schaack Van Deusen ’61 and the late Jim Morgan taught me to never quit, which prepared me in many ways for life. For those Baylor experiences, I will be forever grateful.”