Watkins hired in wake of NCAA investigation

Updated: June 21, 2004, 3:24 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri hired former Texas A&M coach Melvin Watkins as the new top assistant to Quin Snyder on Monday, filling a vacancy that opened in the fallout of an NCAA investigation.

Watkins, 49, resigned as the Aggies coach in March after Texas A&M went 7-21, including 0-16 in the Big 12, before losing in the first round of the conference tournament. A coach for 26 years, Watkins went 60-111 in six seasons at Texas A&M after posting a 42-20 record as the head coach at Charlotte.

Watkins succeeds Tony Harvey, who resigned last week as associate head coach. The NCAA has accused Harvey of paying former Tigers ard Ricky Clemons $250 and falsifying expense accounts to conceal meals purchased for high school and Amateur Athletic Union coaches. Harvey has denied giving Clemons any money.

Watkins told reporters Monday that the NCAA investigation, which may not be resolved for months, didn't deter him from accepting Snyder's job offer.

Snyder said he had not discussed details of the investigation with Watkins, who said, "I'm like most people -- on the outside looking in.

"I feel very confident with the mission and where they're going with this program," Watkins said.

Snyder said that he couldn't comment further on the NCAA investigation, which prompted not only Harvey's departure, but the resignation of assistant coach Lane Odom. Snyder said he has no timetable for hiring Odom's successor.

Snyder said his top priority in hiring Watkins was finding a coach of high character who can motivate players.

"We've got all those things in Melvin Watkins," Snyder said. "He's competed on the highest level. He's coached on the highest level."

Noting that Missouri defeated Texas A&M when they last played, Watkins quipped: "When you can't beat someone, you had better join them."

Watkins and Snyder said the new coach wouldn't have any trouble working as an assistant after serving as a head coach.

"Quin is the head coach, and I've got to understand that and I do understand that," Watkins said. "Quin is calling the shots."

Snyder said he welcomed Watkins' experience. "I'd be crazy not to listen to suggestions."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press