NEWARK, Del.  --  Dan Watson, who is currently in his ninth season with the University of Delaware athletics training staff, has been promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Athletics for Athletic Training and Head Athletic Trainer, UD Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Eric Ziady announced Thursday.

Watson, a 1995 Delaware graduate who had previously served as Associate Head Athletic Trainer, replaces John Smith, who left the University this past summer after 11 years, including four as Assistant Athletic Director, to enter private business.  After serving as assistant with the Blue Hen football program for the past five seasons, Watson will take over the head duties within that sport.
“We are excited to announce Dan’s promotion within our athletic training program,” said Ziady. “We thank John Smith for over a decade of outstanding service to the University and we know that Dan will continue that legacy of first-class athletic training care to our nearly 600 Blue Hen student-athletes. The University of Delaware is proud to be a leader in the area of collegiate athletic training and Dan will continue to uphold that important responsibility.”

Watson becomes just the sixth person to serve as Head Athletic Trainer at Delaware, following Gus Seaburg (1946-52), Edward Bernauer (1952-53), UD Athletics Hall of Fame member C. Roy “Doc” Rylander (1953-88), Keith Handling (1988-2008), and Smith (2008-13).

“Being named the head athletic trainer at the University of Delaware is a true honor,” said Watson. “I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of my mentors John Smith and Keith Handling. As a UD Alumni and Newark resident I am proud to be part of this University, this department, and this community.”

Watson earned his degree in athletic training with honors from the University of Delaware in 1995 after serving for three years as a athletic training student and working with the UD football, men's lacrosse, women's soccer, and baseball programs. He moved on to the University of Virginia where he earned his master's degree in education, athletic training, and sports medicine in 1996.

He began his career at Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College as a graduate assistant in 1995-96 before moving on to Yale University in New Haven, Conn. where he served as assistant athletic trainer, working with the football, ice hockey, and track and field programs from 1996-99. While at Yale, he was active as medical coordinator with the National Youth Sports Program while providing free physicals to underprivileged children and also assisted at the Yale Physical Therapy Clinic where he designed and administered rehabilitation programs for the faculty, staff, and students.

Watson moved on to Rutgers University in 1999 and served with the Scarlet Knights athletics program for five years before returning to Delaware. While at Rutgers, he worked with the men's soccer, wrestling, baseball, and track and field programs and also had teaching duties within the athletic training field.

As an undergraduate at Delaware, he earned the C. Roy Rylander Award as the Outstanding Senior Student Athletic Trainer. He has presented a variety of topics at numerous conferences, including at the NATA Annual Symposium. He previously served as Clinical Coordinator of the UD ATEP and as President of the DATA.

Watson and his wife, Minda, reside in Newark with their son, Jude.