It’s snowing outside, snowing a lot, and Brent Scott is stuck inside of a dormitory in Miami, Okla.
A little more than a year ago, Scott was the next big thing at Oklahoma State, a highly-touted redshirt freshman from Bristow, the son of a coach, the home-grown product charged with turning Pat Jones’ program around. A moment later, he’s trapped in college football purgatory at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, awaiting a second chance, when a knock at the door will provide precisely that.
“A guy knocks on the door and asks if I want to fly down to Louisiana,” he said. “I say, when? He says, ‘How about right now?’ And I’m like, sure man, anything to get out of this snow storm.”
Just like that, Scott packed his bags and headed for Monroe, La., unsure of what he might find.
“I pulled up, and I didn’t know anything about Northeast Louisiana (Louisiana-Monroe),” he said. “I see this beautiful stadium, a beautiful campus. A guy named Stan Humphries is standing there to meet me. A guy named Bubby Brister is standing there to meet me. Wendal Lowrey and Doug Pederson are standing there to meet me. All four of those guys are in the NFL, and those are the other quarterbacks that have played before me. A year before, it was Florida State, Notre Dame and Northeast Louisiana, most guys drafted, and I’ve never even heard of this place.”
Fresh off a NJCAA National Championship with the Norsemen, Scott absorbed a crash course, returned at the end of the summer, and eventually helped lead the Indians into Division I-A independence. Still, his unceremonious departure from Stillwater leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.
“You know, would’ve, could’ve, should’ve,” he said. “I made a lot of friends from being in the different places that I’ve been. Being in Louisiana was fun. But I would’ve been a four-year starter in the Big 8. I screwed that one up.”
Academic ineligibility forced Scott to part ways with the Cowboys, and further complications prevented his return to the big time via routes like Pullman, Wash., and Hattiesburg, Miss.
“I spent some time being embarrassed about what happened, but I’m not going to shy away from it,” he said. “I’d rather use my experiences to help these kids. Football has been good to me. Football paid for my college. I was married my senior year in college and it gave me an opportunity to pay for my school. You’re a poor college kid, what do you do? Most kids nowadays that are in the same situation as me are like, ‘Well coach, I’ve got to quit school, I’ve got to work.’ But that’s when you stay in school.”
To know Brent Scott, the man behind the rise of Sequoyah football, is to understand his passion for teaching, his willingness to build individual bonds with his players.
“The relationships that you have with the kids in the locker room are important,” he said. “A lot of coaches may not build the relationships that we build. That’s one thing about the guys that work for me. They all have a unique relationship with the kids in our locker room. It sounds corny, but it makes it fun. We’re just trying to help them.”
As for how he came to adopt this disposition, you might say Scott is a product of his environment. Discipline and redemption is not limited to the football field, and influence over Scott’s formative years was never limited to simply dad the coach. His mother, Terry, a school teacher for 40 years, demanded the same level proficiency with a number two pencil in hand, as was expected with the football.
“She never talks about football much,” said Bill Scott. “It has always been about what needs to happen when you go to college. You get your degree. It’s a real big emphasis that we have. She was a teacher and she values education more than most.”
The home and the town in which the Bill and Terry raised their family, cultivated Scott’s unabated attachment to the gridiron, itself.
“Bristow was like the movie, ‘Hoosiers,’ when dad was there,” he said. “The whole town followed the team. Being a Bristow Pirate made me want to be the football player that I was, and it made me want to be a football coach. It was special playing for my dad and being a Pirate. Football was always on at our house, but my heroes weren’t the Dallas Cowboys, or even OU. My heroes were the Bristow Pirates.”
The culture of success within Bill Scott’s program left a lasting impression on his son, both before and after his tenure as the signal caller.
“There was always someone being recruited at Bristow,” he said. “Charlie Crawford ended up playing in the NFL. Vance Vice, who’s now at Memphis, and just signed my son. Those guys were my heroes. I can remember those players like it was yesterday. I can remember getting into the equipment bags with the guys’ shoulder pads and helmets and peaking my head out the top of the bag. That’s how young I was. I can’t say enough about what Bristow meant to me. Those guys had a huge impact on my life.”
Scott began his coaching career in West Monroe, La., coaching quarterbacks and “holding the scout team cards.” From 1996-’97, he worked as a student assistant at Louisiana-Monroe, making coffee and cutting film.
“My first job back in Oklahoma was in 1998 with Shane Holland at Grove. Shane is a Charlie Cooper disciple,” he said. “It gets fun once you get back to coaching. That’s one thing that I let my coaches do. They coach. They’ve got it.”
Scott touts a laundry list of Hall of Fame influences along his path to Sequoyah.
“Every guy I’ve worked for is in the Hall of Fame, or is a disciple of a Hall of Famer. Carson Fields, my first coordinating job at Tulsa Central, is in the Hall of Fame. Ron Lancaster isn’t in yet, but he will be. Eventually I end up with Clarence Smith at Tulsa Hale, who worked for Jim Frazier, who is in the Hall of Fame. I go to Tulsa Webster with Jim Harper, who worked with Jim Cherry, who is in the Hall of Fame. I’ve been very, very lucky who I’ve worked for.”
In addition to his apprenticeships, Scott credits stability and familiarity amongst his coaching staff for much of his teams’ successes – traits that were also valued during his father’s career at Bristow.
“We’ve lost a guy or two here and there, but Coach [Shane] Richardson, the Hammers, Coach [Phil] Angeri and dad have been here with me the whole time. Coach [Brad] Jones has been with us, unbelievably, for three years. We’ve had guys that believe in my vision.”
Scott is quick to point out his desire to separate himself and the coaches from under whom he studied – “I’m not those guys,” he says. “I’m not a wanna-be” – and part of doing it his own way means creating an environment that lives up to the pedestal atop which prep football is remembered.
“It’s special here,” he said. “It’s a college atmosphere. We hope that we’ve given these kids a special experience in their life when they’ve left. You associate that with championships, and we’re trying to do that, but when they leave here they’ve got tons of stories. We try to build these games up to be special. There’s a lot in the job description that can discourage you, but on Fridays, nothing bothers me. Gamedays are pretty special. Or when you look up and Christian Littlehead is at the game, or Travis Boswell is down there doing the coin toss, or Nathan Stanley calls and says, ‘Hey, good luck, coach.’ Kids show up in the locker room and you know you’ve had an impact on their life.
“At the end of the day, that’s what you do this for. It’s about making an impact, making a difference.”
The second of a three-part series highlighting the Scott family focuses on Brent Scott’s long, strange trip from Bristow to Sequoyah.
It’s snowing outside, snowing a lot, and Brent Scott is stuck inside of a dormitory in Miami, Okla.
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