Two coaches with Bay City ties land college assistant jobs

April 26, 2012 in Division I, Division III, High School

By Patrick Hayes

The top basketball player in Bay City Western history, Matt Costello, is moving on to the college ranks and so is the most successful coach in school history.

Chris Watz, who guided Western to the Class A state semifinals last season and won 67 games in five seasons as coach, will join the staff of newly hired Olivet College coach Chris Coles. Watz told the Bay City Times the decision to take the job wasn’t an easy one:

After taking the Bay City Western boys basketball program to never-before-seen heights, Chris Watz has been hired as a full-time assistant at Olivet College.

“It’s been a goal and a dream of mine (to coach at the college level) for as long as I can remember,” Watz said. “But I certainly wasn’t expecting it.”

In all honesty, if Watz’ goal was to coach in college at some point, this was probably the right time. Western didn’t have much of a basketball tradition prior to the arrival of Watz and, later, Costello. Now with Costello gone, competing in the always tough Saginaw Valley League was going to become harder for Western and Olivet represents a great opportunity for Watz to help a program that, much like the Western job when he took it, is also in need of rebuilding.

Another coach with Bay City ties, Bay City native Jeff Smith, was hired to be a part of Keno Davis‘ staff at Central Michigan. Smith was an assistant at CMU before in the 1990s and has also worked as an assistant at Alma, Albion, Oakland, Utah and UC-Riverside. In a news release, Davis said, “Jeff’s knowledge of Michigan and understanding of what it takes to win at Central Michigan and in the MAC make him the right fit for us. He has a national reputation as a tireless worker and someone who has been successful at every stop. I am very excited to welcome him back home and let him utilize his in-roads around the country and specifically in the state.”