Tony Watson always arrived early to Cougar football games wearing his orange and sitting on the front row. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WLAF’S MATTHEW MOORE)

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Tony Watson was a fixture at Campbell home football and basketball games. The Campbell County High School graduate could also be quite vocal in his support of his beloved Cougars and Lady Cougars. It was said at his funeral Monday night that one particular game he wanted the Lady Cougars to press and became very loud about it. “Press. It’s all worth it. Press,” shouted Watson.

Watson, who passed away last Thursday, was laid to rest on top of Pleasant Ridge yesterday morning. As his procession made its way up East Central Avenue, everyone took notice, traffic stood still, and high above the traffic was a technician for AT&T in a bucket truck with his hard hat held across his heart.

To some, he may have had the worst seat in the house, behind the bench at the end of Brown Court and down low front row line of sight of Reynolds Field. But for Tony Watson, he was right where he wanted to be at Cougar and Lady Cougar home games.

“Campbell County is a special place. Fans like Mr. Watson are a big reason why. Our football program is honored to have had a fan like him,” said Cougar Head Football Coach Justin Price.

“We will definitely miss Tony. He was one of our biggest fans! We could always count on seeing him in his seat right behind our bench. We are praying for his family during this hard time,” said Lady Cougar Head Basketball Coach Jason Kitts.

“I knew him as Bo Bo when we played together as kids. He’d tease you and was good at it. I didn’t come to know him as Tony until years later,” said Rev. Mark Gillum at the graveside service. Gillum was Watson’s pastor at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church just across the road from Tony’s resting place, the Elbert Rose Kitts, Jr., Cemetery.

“The Cougar Family is saddened by the loss of a long-time Cougar supporter and friend, Tony Watson, and our condolences go out to the family. He will be missed by all that knew and loved him!” said Ernie Clawson, head coach of the Cougar Basketball Team.

“Someone was heckling an official from near the Lady Cougar bench, and, boy, was he getting upset. When the referee discovered that his heckler was Tony, in his wheelchair, and not his nearby brother Tim, he didn’t say a word,” said Rev. Bill Rutherford at Watson’s funeral at Martin-Wilson Funeral Home.

“Mr. Watson was one of the biggest fans of Cougar athletics and rarely missed a game. He would always greet me in the gym during our home basketball games and ask how I thought we would do that night and how the football team would be in the fall. He will be missed at the games, and we are praying for his family during this time,” said Campbell High Director of Athletics and Associate Head Football Coach Matt Price.

“If we could open Heaven up and hear Tony, he would be telling us all the same thing; press guys. Press. It’s all worth it. Philippians Chapter 3 tells us to press towards the mark,” said Pastor Rutherford. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/03/2023-6AM)