Robert William Watkins, M.A.



Dr. Richard D. Howe, “Robert William Watkins, M.A.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 25, 2024,

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Robert William Watkins, M.A.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Richard D. Howe




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Professor Emeritus of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Robert William "Red" Watkins (February 28, 1905 - ), college professor and wrestling coach, was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the son of the late Daniel Thomas Watkins and Cora Nunn Watkins. Daniel Watkins owned and operated a lumber yard in WinstonSalem. “Red” Watkins attended elementary school in Winston-Salem and graduated from Reynolds High School there in 1927. He played four years of football and was chosen All-State Center. He also played four years of baseball and two years of basketball. Watkins married Martha McGill Delaney Watkins (June 24, 1910, Charlotte, North Carolina - November 30, 1980) on October 11, 1936 in Mountain City, Tennessee. Barnard Dougherty served as best man. The couple were blessed with three children. Robert James (Bobby) Watkins (June 9, 1939, Boone, North Carolina - ) married Vickie Wilhelm Watkins on September 29, 1962. Their children: Robbie (September 26, 1963) Susie (September 10, 1968 - ), Shannon (August 11, 1971 - ). Dianne Burroughs (February 16, 1943, Boone, North Carolina ) married Dr. Paul Burroughs on May 28, 1966. Their children: Paul, Jr. (June 15 1967 - ), Peter (December 25, 1969 - ), and Marshall (October 10, 1971 - ). Daniel Boswell (Danny) Watkins (February 21, 1950 in Boone, North Carolina - ) married Patty Payne Watkins on January 1979. "Red" Watkins attended Duke University in 1927-28 and participated in football and wrestling. He graduated from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, in 1931 where he played three years of football, played three years of baseball (captain in 1931), and organized and wrestled on the first intercollegiate wrestling team in the State of Tennessee. He taught and coached the first wrestling team at High Point College in 1930-31, and also coached wrestling at High Point High School during 1930-31. Watkins began his teaching and coaching duties at Appalachian State University in 1932 and during that year organized its first wrestling team, He compiled the most impressive won-lost records in the nation with his teams winning 240 dual meets while losing only 18 between 1932 and 1970 when he stepped down as ASU wrestling coach. His teams had five undefeated seasons, and the 1950 team set a national record with 379 points. His teams also won fourteen North Carolina Amateur Athletic Union titles. Watkins noted that "there is no sport which requires such close coordination of mind and body as wrestling. Every muscle of the body is used to achieve the end which only an alert mind can conceive. A fine body with a slow brain never attains success." Watkins was also head coach of Appalachian State University's football team from 1940-42; served as director of athletics from 1940- 44; and, was chairman of the Health and Physical Education Department from 1940-44. "Red" Watkins was one of the nine original inductees into the Appalachian State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975. In retirement, Watkins resides in Boone, North Carolina and continues to maintain a keen interest not only in ASU wrestling but in all sports and other activities relating to the university and community. He does find time, however, to keep up with the achievements of his "boys"--former members of his teams--and he visits as much as possible with his children and grandchildren. Sources: Appalachian State University files and personal interviews . - Dr. Richard D. Howe

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