A former Cowboy is making his way back home to Stillwater, OK.
Last Thursday’s news cycle had everyone stirring as we got word that Coleman Scott was stepping down as the head coach at the University of North Carolina. Now, on his wife Jessica’s birthday, Oklahoma State has officially announced that Scott is headed back to his old stomping grounds to take the Associate Head Coach position.
“All the great memories that we had here for 10 years through college, then post-college then coaching – just everything. I love Stillwater, we love Stillwater. The people here are awesome. Our friends are unbelievable. And I think it was the people more than anything else,” Scott said about returning to his alma mater. “I don’t know if I ever thought it would happen. Just even driving around today with Jessica, it’s just very surreal that I was given the opportunity and blessed enough and very fortunate to be in consideration and given a call.”
Scott’s return to Cowboy country reunites him with his old coach, John Smith, who was in his corner for not just his NCAA finals win, but his Olympic bronze medal win in London in 2012 as well.
“Being able to pick his brain and learn more is a great opportunity. In my mind, he’s the greatest wrestler and greatest coach,” Scott said. “I grew here. This is where I grew up and it was because of him and the way he led and did everything for us as a team. So, for me, it's nostalgic coming back here to learn from the greatest wrestler and coach that there is in this country. I’m excited about that, and I just want to get started and get things rolling.”
Scott, who claimed his NCAA title in his final season at 133 would be looking to now coach Daton Fix to a title in the same weight class, in his final season, if he was to return to the OK State lineup this year. But outside of four-time AA Fix, there is a lot of talent that they have who are now becoming vets along with a powerful recruiting class.
“I think that the staff is unbelievable. It’s a time where the roster is very deep,” he said about the Cowboys’ current talent. “But it’s hour zero per se because I haven’t been in the practice room yet, so I don’t know what’s there across the board, but I believe that they have some very special guys and it’s an opportunity to come in and raise the level. Some of the most special moments that I’ve had in my career is when we won NCAA team titles and that’s the goal – win as a team. And when you wrestle for the team, and you are a team, and you do things together it takes care of your individual goals. I think they’ve got some pieces to the puzzle that we can do that.”
In 2015, Scott became the head coach at the University of North Carolina after joining the staff the year prior as the assistant coach. To say that he made an incredible impact in Chapel Hill would be a grand understatement.
“[North] Carolina is a special place. They welcomed us with open arms. The community and the people. We made some lifelong friends that we’ll have forever. Our kids were in essence raised there. In the wrestling sense, the number one goal was to leave this place better than when I started whether that was two years, nine years or 30 years and I feel that I did that,” Scott said about his time in Chapel Hill.
While at the helm, he led UNC to some of its best finishes since the 90’s as he coached Kizhan Clarke and Austin O’Connor to the NCAA Championship finals with O’Connor finishing his career as a four-time All-American and two-time Champion.
“It was never about me, it was never about anything other than bettering the program,” Scott said. [North] Carolina wins a lot across the board, and it was all about the program. What are we going to do to put this program on the map, break the top 10, chase team trophies – that was the goal. It was never ‘What can I do for this place?’ it was always about how can we elevate what we want to do.”
But the decision to leave where he got his first big opportunity as a coach wasn’t easy, even if it was for a place that means so much to him, like Stillwater, OK.
“It was definitely hard,” he admitted. “The relationships and the guys and the people made it extremely hard. And I believe life’s about relationships and that’s what made this decision so tough. But at the end of the day, It’s home. Like I said, Stillwater is a place that helped me grow and made me who I am. It’s where my family started. So again, I’m just very, very fortunate to have the opportunity to even get a call from John. Again, it’s surreal right now, but I just want to get to work and better this place.”