id253-Denis Watts 1920-2005

Written by DB   

The Club confirms,with much sadness,the death of Life Member and former International athlete & National Coach,Denis Watts on June 10th.

After serving in the RAF in WW2,Polytechnic Harriers' Denis Claude Vernon Watts soon became the leading long and triple jumper in the UK,winning both titles at the AAA Championships in 1946(7.11/14.26) and going on to selection for that year's European Championships in Oslo where he was 6th in the long(6.95/7.00q) and 9th in the triple(13.49).He was elected a Life Member of the Poly in the same year.He won the AAA triple again in 1947(14.25).He was Inter Counties Champion at triple in 1947 & 1948 and took the long jump in 1947;he was also Southern Champion three times running in both events,and owned PBs of 7.27 & 14.40. This latter distance ranked him 50th in the World in 1947.

He narrowly failed to make the 1948 Olympic team and was then appointed as one of the first professional national coaches the same year as part of the new AAA Coaching Scheme,with responsibility for the North of England.He was one of the luminaries of that Scheme,alongside such as Chief Coach Geoff Dyson,John le Masurier,Wilf Paish,Lionel Pugh & Bill Marlow. A quiet and unassuming man,he had a most distinguished career,being awarded the MBE for services to the sport and he remained for 30 years in that post,becoming one of the most successful coaches in the country,as well as a prolific writer on the sport.He retired as one of the two Principal National Coaches in 1978. Denis,an ex-Marine,was also a fine cricketer & a rugby player with London Welsh.

The Club extends their condolences to his family.

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