Former area coach admits to inappropriate contact with teen
MACOMB — A former Macomb High School boys basketball coach who’d previously served as an assistant coach at Pleasant Plains High School has pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and will serve 150 days in the McDonough County Jail and face 30 months of probation.
Daniel Watson, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct during a hearing in Macomb on Monday.
Watson was arrested Aug. 12, 2011, after an investigation into allegations he had sexual contact with a female student then under the age of 18. He was originally charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Two counts of felony official misconduct were added by McDonough County State’s Attorney James Hoyle last month.
Watson, who resigned from Macomb School District in December, graduated from Williamsville High School in 1991. He then went to Lincoln Land Community College and Wabash Valley Junior College before graduating from High Point University in High Point, N.C.
He was an assistant basketball coach at Pleasant Plains High School before being named the basketball coach in Macomb in 2003.
The one count of official misconduct Watson pleaded guilty to on Monday states he “knowingly performed an act which he knew was forbidden by law to perform, being he had inappropriate communications with a student under the age of 18.”
Watson declined to give a statement.
Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge Raymond Cavanaugh said he would accept the plea agreement, but added he was “troubled” that a “sophisticated, intelligent man” with a master’s degree in educational leadership was before him in court.
Cavanaugh also mentioned Watson’s three children.
“You would not want this to happen to them in the hands of a teacher,” he said. “I want to believe this is an isolated incident that will not reoccur.”
According to court documents, Watson exchanged over 6,000 text messages with the victim.