When I say leaping, I'm not sure there was more than a couple inches from the soles of his shoes and the hardwood floor. But in this moment I recall, but couldn't find the photograph to prove it, coach Steve Scott achieved some air-time.
I wish I could find this moment because it was rare to see him express such outward emotion. What you got from Scott was consistent coaching and life lessons. And care. And love.
After the game I remember asking him about that moment.
"You got more excited than we usually see you! I think both feet may have been off the floor at the same time," I said to him jokingly. It was after his team won in the last seconds of a game I don't think he expected to win. He laughed when I asked him that and then quietly shrugged his shoulders and smiled as he praised his team for their effort on the court. He also admitted if he got much air under his feet it wasn't much.
Scott would never credit his coaching for the team's success because he believed his players still needed to perform well in order to win. And they did just that over and over again for him. Over 600 career wins as Saegertown's coach.
Steve knew the game of girls basketball. I differentiate girls vs. boys here on purpose. It's not a sexist thing, it is a fundamental difference in the game that is important to know if you're going to cover the game or be a successful coach.
Girls are flat out more determined and aggressive than boys in sports. They sometimes wildly fling their bodies across the floor for a loose ball and any tiny gap between defenders looks possible to get through. All of this has to be taken into consideration as a coach and well...Scott had over 600 wins. He seemed to understand this.
Scott would repeat to his players to stay in control and to maintain control in order to win. He taught fundamentals and patience. He applauded heart, but truly revered smart play – discipline within aggression.
He and Rick Chesko were the two best girls basketball coaches I ever saw.
We lost Steve today.
2020 and COVID-19 has been a relentless savage beast.
"Steve's death will be devastating to this community," said Stacey Hetrick, a long-time Saegertown teacher.
She didn't say the school – she said community.
That is the truth. Scott coached for over 30 years and was a long-time county maintenance department leader. He helped shape this community. He help shape young lives.
"They say a coach can be one of the most influential people in your life." wrote former star player Nicole Harmon Belz on social media Friday, only hours after losing her coach and friend. "They mold you, they push you, they make you believe in yourself and your team. But when a coach becomes family, that’s when you know you are in the presence of a legend. A coach that will go down in history, the record books, and will forever hold a place in thousands of hearts."
"What was impressive about Coach, wasn’t just his Bill Cowher scowl," Belz continued, "but what he did for his players on and off the court. Whether he was the first person at your door when a parent passed unexpectedly or was one of the first people to tell you he was proud of you; he made you feel cared about."
Coach Scott taught about life as much about basketball. "He was there when I was so broken. Helped me through my family breaking apart," wrote Megan Rowe on Belz post hours after Scott passed. She wrote about several occasions Scott reached out to her in her hardest times to offer his help and care.
He will be missed.
This is a loss to the community for sure.
"He would do anything for anyone. Such a hard loss." wrote Becca Siple whose fun-loving antics tested
Scott's resolve on the bench when she was a star player.
Personally, I only knew Steve as guy who would disrupt his practices for me as a member of the media to take head shots or see what else I may have needed. For a few years I took the team photos for my side business and he would know that was a day his practice wouldn't be great, but also knew the importance to families to have these memories. Each time he would take a few moments to talk about different things, usually related to his team or past players. Occasionally we'd talk about the Crawford County Fair.
Steve Scott was a man who just loved to do what he did – that is what I got from him. He was dedicated to taking a group of athletes each year and helping them learn how to work together for a common goal. He took a few of those groups to pretty high places include district championships and even to HersheyPark for state finals.
Saegertown, under his tutelage, was always a competitive force from this small little town tuck up in the woods of NW Pa.
RIP coach Scott. And thank you.
My old friends at The Meadville Tribune have a nice article in today's paper and look soon for a column by Lisa Byers Renwick. Lisa is a long-time Trib sports writer who has known Steve since she was a Saegertown student herself. Her column will need a few tissues in hand to finish.