Bonaventure students’ basketball tournament remembers professor

By Hannah Gordon, @Hannahgeeh

John J. Watson passed away unexpectedly last year, but his legacy lives on at St. Bonaventure University.

On Saturday, students in the event and sponsorship class will host the 2nd Annual John J. Watson Memorial 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament in the Reilly Center to commemorate the life of the esteemed marketing professor.

Tyler Pauly, class of 2014 president, is a member of the five-person class that is organizing the event.

“I think it’s important to honor our faculty members,” Pauly said. “Especially those who have passed on.”

The class has funded the event through sponsors. Gold sponsors, donors of $500-$1000, include the Iroquois Group, Duggan & Duggan, Olean Physical Therapy Professionals PLLC, and Sports Locker. Laurie Branch, president of the Iroquois Group, said Watson was a great professor and person.

“We lost John Watson far too early,” Branch said. “He was a dedicated professor and a wonderful person. Although Bonaventure still suffers from our loss, I find it particularly moving that our students continue to bring John back to campus in spirit by holding this memorial tournament. It is a wonderful tradition.”

Last year, when the class decided to start the memorial event, a basketball tournament was chosen because Watson had an intense love for the game, according to Pauly.

Watson played basketball at Bucknell University, and spent two years after college playing professionally in Ireland and England. He was also a coach, owner, and president of the Canterbury Rams in the New Zealand National Basketball League, and he was named Coach of the Year in 2002, according to the National Basketball League website.

Each team for the tournament paid a $30 participation fee, and all the money collected, approximately $2000 so far according to Pauly, is being donated to the Chris Dudley Foundation, an organization that brings hope to kids with type one diabetes. The organization is special to the Watson family, according to Leslie Watson, John’s wife.

“Our son Noah was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was three,” Leslie said. “John visited the camp, and he said when Noah was old enough, he would go. He said, ‘No matter what, we have to make sure he goes to that camp.’”

Noah attends the camp every year, according to Leslie, and they will be at the tournament, along with the three other children of Leslie and John. The eldest, John, will be participating in the tournament with his uncle, Steve Watson, athletic director.

“He would love the fact that students are running an event on campus that is meaningful to the student body, even if it wasn’t in his honor,” Leslie said.

For more information, you can contact Tyler Pauly or Kayla Cronin. The deadline for last minute teams is 9 a.m. tomorrow.

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