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Assistant coach award
NBC pole vault coach Rick Watson, right, was recognized for receiving the Farrand award during halftime of Dec. 17 NBC basketball game. The award recognizes Nebraska's assistant coach of the year. Also pictured is former NBC head track coach Fred Lambley and NBC principal Brenda Petersen.

Waston awarded state assistant coach honor

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/11/13

One of North Bend’s icons will be recognized during half time of the Dec. 17 NBC boys basketball game.

Rick Watson received the Jim Farrand Award as Nebraska’s assistant coach of the year from the Nebraska Coaches Association. He was formally presented the award at the NCA awards banquet July 21 in Lincoln.

NBC vault coach Rick WatsonRick Watson gives the thumbs up to singnal another state qualifier at a district track meet a few years ago.

Watson was a physical education teacher at North Bend Central for 32 years and served as activities director for 25 years until retiring in 2009. He served on the track and football staffs all 32 years of his teaching career and continues to serve as a track coach.

Fred Lambley, who just retired as NBC’s head boys track coach this spring, nominated Watson for the award. In his letter of nomination, Lambley credited Watson for helping 101 boys qualify for the state track meet in the events he coaches.

As an assistant track coach, Watson coaches the sprinters and hurdles, but his specialty is the pole vault. During his 35 years of coaching the event at NBC, Tiger pole vaulters have won the East Husker Conference gold medal 22 times.

“His expertise in the pole vault is as good as anyone in the state at our level, I feel,” Lambley said of his long-time assistant.

Watson has coached three state champions, two in the pole vault and another in the 400-meter relay.

“Coach Watson is an excellent technician in his events and has played a key role in 16 conference championships, 11 district championships and one state championship in Class B,” Lambley said.

Lambley and Watson coached track together for 35 years.

The NCA initiated the Junior High and Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 1986. In 2004 the NCA Board of Directors changed the name to the Jim Farrand Award. Farrand was an assistant coach in three sports for 25 years at Aurora High School before passing away from heart failure at the age of 49. .

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