Bert Watts joined the Carolina Panthers in 2023 as the safeties coach after serving as the outside linebackers coach for the Denver Broncos in 2022. Watts brings 18 years of coaching experience to the Panthers staff.
Last season, Watts' outside linebackers contributed to one of the NFL's top defenses as the Broncos ranked in the top 10 in total defense (seventh - 320.0 yards per game), rushing defense (10th – 109.8), opponent third down conversion percentage (second – 34.1%), opponent redzone touchdown rate (seventh – 51.1%) and defensive three-and-out percentage (fourth – 37.9%).
Prior to Denver, Watts served as special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach for Auburn University in 2021. He helped Auburn reach its 43rd bowl game in program history and first since 2018.
In 2020, Watts coached linebackers at the University of Memphis, taking part in an 8-3 campaign and bowl victory as the defense ranked Top 20 nationally in red zone defense, turnovers forced, and fumbles recovered.
He spent three seasons at Fresno State from 2017-19, coaching the team's linebackers (2017) before being promoted to defensive coordinator (2018-19). Fresno State posted a 26-14 record over the three-year span, including a 12-2 mark in 2018. The defense ranked third in scoring defense (14.1) in 2018 along with top 10 finishes in red zone defense (first), interceptions (fourth), passing efficiency defense (fifth) and turnover margin (ninth).
Before Fresno State, Watts spent four seasons (2013-16) as the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at the University of California-Davis. He also spent two seasons at the University of Colorado in 2010-11 as defensive technical intern before his first stint with the Broncos as a staff assistant in 2012.
In addition to his 14 years of collegiate coaching experience, Watts also coached high school football for two seasons and spent a season in the Austrian Football League. He served as defensive coordinator for the AFL's Raiffeisen Vikings (2007) before working as defensive backs coach at Bartram Trial High School (St. Johns, Fla.) in 2008 and defensive coordinator at Bishop Kenny High School (Jacksonville, Fla.) in 2009.
A three-year letterwinner at the University of California-Berkeley, Watts led the Bears' defense with 80 tackles as a senior in 2002. Following his senior year, he was the recipient of the team's Joe Roth Award which is given to the player that exemplifies superior courage, attitude, and leadership. Watts earned his undergraduate degree in education from UC-Berkeley.
He is married to Lyndsay Graubard-Watts, and the couple has two children, Vedder and Willow.
2004-05 | University of California-Berkeley | Graduate Assistant
2007 | Raiffeisen Vikings (Austria) | Defensive Coordinator
2008 | Bartram Trial HS (St. Johns, Fla.) | Defensive Backs
2009 | Bishop Kenny HS (Jacksonville, Fla.) | Defensive Coordinator
2010-11 | University of Colorado | Defensive Technical Intern
2012 | Denver Broncos | Staff Assistant
2013-16 | University of California-Davis | Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2017-19 | Fresno State University | Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2020 | University of Memphis | Linebackers
2021 | Auburn University | Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
2022 | Denver Broncos | Outside Linebackers
2023-pres | Carolina Panthers | Safeties