Jack R. Watkins is in his 24th season at the Missouri Valley, having served nine years as Associate Commissioner for Marketing and Television and 11 years as the league’s public information and media services director.
In July 2012, Watkins, 52, was named tournament director for the MVC men’s basketball championship in St. Louis and assigned the sport of baseball for the Conference, serving as tournament director, arranging league schedules and overseeing the assignment of umpires for MVC games.
In addition, he is the primary staff contact with MVC Sports Properties, which handles television advertising and sponsorship sales for The Valley, and oversees marketing and promotions for the league. The former chair of the Missouri Valley Conference’s Athletics Hall of Fame Committee, he also develops promotional campaigns for league championships.
As the staff contact for ESPN, CBS Sports, FOX and Comcast, Watkins coordinates contract negotiation, production, hiring on-air talent and clearances for the MVC Television Network on FOX Sports Midwest, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and The Valley on ESPN3.
During his tenure at The Valley, he has been a media coordinator for the 1993, 1998 and 1999 NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I Midwest Regionals and 2002 NCAA First and Second Round Tournament in St. Louis, and served as a television time-out coordinator a total of 14 times for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I Championship and once for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Division I Championship.
Watkins served as tournament manager for the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Second and Third Round Men’s Basketball Tournament events and will handle the same responsibilities for the First and Second Round NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in St. Louis, Mo., in March 2016.
As men’s basketball publicity contact, his 1997, 2000 and 2002 MVC hoops guides were voted “Best in the Nation” by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) conference publications committee, and the 2001 and 2003 MVC yearbooks earned “Best in the Nation” for their cover design.
A native of Sikeston, Mo., Watkins became the 14th recipient of the Katha Quinn Award — presented for service to sportswriters who cover college basketball — from the 800-member United States Basketball Writers Association in April 2003.
A 1985 University of Missouri-Columbia journalism graduate, he served assistant sports information director at Kansas State University during the 1986-87 school year, coordinating media services for the sports of volleyball, men’s basketball and baseball.
From 1988 to 1992, he was assistant sports information director at the University of Missouri, handling publicity for the sports of volleyball, wrestling, men’s basketball, women’s gymnastics and baseball. While at Missouri, he received 10 publications awards from CoSIDA and served as media coordinator for five Big Eight Conference championship events and an NCAA Gymnastics Regional in 1992.
A member of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA), Watkins and his wife Genny live in Creve Coeur, Mo.