Detroit coach Watson resigns after 15 seasons

DETROIT -- Perry Watson resigned as basketball coach at Detroit after 15 seasons on Wednesday, although he'd been on an indefinite leave of absence since Jan. 7 for an undisclosed medical condition.

The 57-year-old Watson ranks second in school history in wins with a 258-185 record and three Horizon League championships, but the Titans have been just 48-74 the past four seasons.

The Titans finished this season 7-23 after a 60-37 loss to Wright State on Tuesday night in the first round of the conference tournament, with associate head coach Kevin Mondro guiding Detroit in Watson's absence.

"I was blessed to have the opportunity to bring excitement and winning back to Titan Territory," Watson said in a statement released by the school. "We had some very good years and a couple of disappointing ones.

"I wish the Titans success as they move forward."

A committee will be formed to assist the search process for a new head coach.

Candidates could include former Titans player and assistant Mike Jackson, a Detroit native in his third season on Michigan's coaching staff, as well as Michigan State assistants Mark Montgomery and Dwayne Stephens.

Watson took over the program in 1993 after two seasons as an assistant at Michigan, and after building Detroit Southwestern into a high school powerhouse. His teams there won more than 300 games and regularly played for the Class A championship.

Watson's four consecutive 20-win seasons at Detroit from 1998-2001 set a school record, and he had 10 winning seasons, including nine in row from 1996-2004.

Detroit plans to honor him March 17 during the basketball program's postseason banquet.