SBVC Remembers Spencer Watkins
Super fans of coach Spencer Watkins are reflecting on the man that brought home many wins for San Bernardino Valley College, but more so, because his love for the game was only bested by his love for the people.
His victories extended far beyond the basketball court.
Jacqueline Moore, who served under Watkins for 17 years before his 2006 retirement as Dean of the Physical Education department, describes him as a natural born giver. Always sensitive, he was eager to help the students with whatever they needed, from mentoring, to food to bus fare.
“Even going in his pocket if students were hungry, and didn’t have lunch or money. He poured his life into this institute regarding education, but caring for all mankind,” said Moore, women’s equipment specialist at San Bernardino Valley College Athletics.
Moore, also a member of Black Faculty and Staff, said he supported his students and staff, but he also supported the community wherever he saw a need. If he could help, he would contribute to the cause.
She said he will be always be remembered for his great attitude, and that anyone that knew him, liked him. He was kind and generous.
“He would give his heart if he could,” she said. “If you were down, he would try to uplift you. If you were hungry, he fed you. He was that kind of man.”
She said that he had a genuine commitment to keeping kids on the right path, and giving them a positive perspective to offset whatever negativity they may have felt. He always applauded them for their efforts.
Watkins passed away last month.
Having served as both the basketball coach and dean, longtime friend and colleague Clyde Williams said that Watkins brought so much to the academic table, but held an even greater role as mentor for many students and staff.
Williams started at SBVC in 1979, two years after Walkins came to campus, and said that a major part of his legacy and contribution was in co-founding the Black Faculty and Staff, and as co-founder of one of the Black Graduation ceremonies on campus that continues until this day.
“He was just supportive of getting more faculty and staff of color on campus,” he said.
Williams said that he brought a lot of energy and dedication to helping the students, especially minority students, get into college and ensure that they can stay in college.
“That’s why the organization was started, to help minority students matriculate through the college system. He was their mentor and helped them understand how to work on a job, and become young men and women,” he said.
Williams said that his projects had longevity, and he created great team spirit within the staff. He knew how to move people around him in a positive way.
“He had a lot of personality and a good attitude,” he said. “He was direct and clear on how to explain to you when it was going good or bad.”
Willie Ellison, sports writer with the Precinct Reporter, remembers when Watkins personally asked him to come to SBVC to join the team. At first, he was reluctant, but he said Watkins assured him that the position needed him as the sports information director.
Ellison said that he will always remember Watkins as a man true to his word and dedicated to his staff.
He went above the call of duty to make sure that students and his employees were taken care of.
“He was a good dude, he had this infectious laugh. People would be in their own offices and hear him, and they would all start laughing,” he said.
What he appreciates most was how Watkins always reached out to help others achieve their own personal empowerment, and quick to offer encouragement. He pushed those in his inner circle to do their best, and to be their best.
He said the better part of Watkins legacy is that all those that he mentored now have something special that they are giving back to the next generation.
“When you learn things from him, how to take care of your people and staff, look after your loved ones, and you pass that on. That’s what I’ve learned from him,” Ellison said.