Sonya Watkins-Ellis, a customer service supervisor with Houston Parks And Recreation Department’s Permitting Office, was one of several University of Houston athletes inducted into its Houston Athletics Class of 2023 Hall of Honor.
The ceremony was conducted Sept. 14 at the Post Oak Hotel and highlighted the former Houston Cougars basketball great’s illustrious high school, college and professional basketball career.
A 6-foot-1 forward, the Detroit, Michigan native attended Cass Technical High School, where she lettered all four years. She averaged 25 points and 8 rebounds during her senior year, was named First Team All-State, and was inducted into the high school’s Hall of Fame.
Watkins-Ellis joined the UH basketball team in 1982, where she continued her impressive gameplay. She had 28 double-doubles and seven 30-point games. In addition, she was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player three times, was the first Cougar to win Southwest Conference Player of the Year in the 1985-1986 season and was named SWC First Team All-Decade.
After college, Watkins-Ellis played professionally in Spain for two seasons before returning to Houston and coaching basketball at St. Agnes Academy. She also mentored youth at the Houston Parks and Recreation Department Fonde Recreation Center.
With all these impressive accolades to her name, Watkin-Ellis says her proudest achievement is “raising three wonderful children, who were all student-athletes, and seeing all of them obtain their college degrees.”
“To be honored by a university such as the University of Houston … with all the different athletes that come in,” she said. “It’s just great.”