This spring, the Illinois Athletic Directors Association honored Kelly Watson with the Assistant Athletic Director of the Year award. Watson has been the assistant athletic director at Hinsdale Central for 12 years.
Dan Jones, HC Athletic Director, nominated Watson. “She is by far the most humble and hardworking person I’ve known in my 33 years as a teacher, coach and administrator,” said Jones.
Watson is one of two female assistant athletic directors in the 14-school conference. She said there are also currently two female athletic directors in the conference. It is a narrow field for women, and she noted the significance of receiving this award in the 50th anniversary year of the passage of Title IX, which prohibits sex based discrimination in any school that receives funding from the government. At the award ceremony, there was a standing ovation for the women in attendance in honor of Title IX.
Watson herself was a high school and college athlete, so she knows the hard work and time commitment required of the athletes and coaches. She also understands the immense role athletics and coaches play in the lives of students. “It is such a joy watching student athletes come back after Covid. Covid nearly broke us all, and I am so happy to be back working with and assisting the coaches as well as seeing the students back playing and participating,” said Watson.
Amy Carrol, a colleague of Watson’s, says that Watson’s strength is problem solving. “She doesn’t react without first thinking through a solution. She listens and comes up with alternatives without getting emotional. People come to her because they know they will be listened to and will get the help they need,” said Carrol.
Watson said that she credits her success to Dan Jones’ support and the help of Wanda Swik, Athletic Office Administrative Assistant. “Working in this school with such amazing staff, teachers and coaches makes the job doable, and working with Dan and Wanda makes my work easier,” said Watson.
She also credits her success to the help of her husband Paul and her kids. “Without their support, it would be much more difficult,” said Watson.