Howard head football coach Larry Scott hasn’t even coached a game for the Howard Bison, but that didn’t stop Nick Saban from trying to pry him away to Tuscaloosa.
Saban offered him a job with the reigning College Football National Champions. Scott was hired last February but hasn’t officially coached a game due to the MEAC’s decision to cancel Fall sports competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scott is well-traveled and well respected in the coaching ranks. He was previously an assistant for several FBS-level schools, including Miami, Tennessee, South Florida and Florida. Scott is an offensive coach who’s coached the offensive line and running backs, but his specialty is coaching the tight end position.
Upon his arrival at Howard, the football program was in some very precarious and strange times. Mike London led them to two pretty exciting but very uneven seasons. He was followed by Ron Prince, the former head coach at Kansas State. The arrival of Prince was met with ballyhooed hoopla and excitement but the team struggled mightily on the field. There were also allegations of abuse under Prince which in turn resulted in a suspension and ultimately a regime change on the Hilltop.
In an interview, following his hiring Scott said this:
“That’s a difficult situation for anyone to come into, let alone a coach that is coming in as a head coach for the first time.”
He also mentioned he was fully aware of the situation when he took the job last winter.
“The biggest thing is to come in and be who we are,” he stated. “ It has been a hard adjustment, a hard change. We don’t do business that way. We do things the right way for the right reasons only.”
As for Scott, it’s not just a matter of coming in and restructuring the program. He’s also a coach who’s big on listening to his players’ concerns and wants to always have an open-door policy with his players. He even met with each player individually to see how the previous season has impacted them, so he’d have a feel on how to move forward.
Getting the players to talk about everything was vital for him and his staff to begin to implement the proper change and avenues needed to reach that change. In order to build sometimes you have to tear down the old foundation and start over. Scott’s actions say he’s all-in to do just that if it’s deemed necessary to get the response he wants out of his players.
The fact that he turned down an opportunity to join the elite college football machine in the country and eventually position himself to head a Power 5 school, is emphatic proof of his commitment to Howard.
HBCU programs have been in the spotlight lately with major corporations pledging to invest in the community and give students access to resources, opportunities and connections that will enhance their career paths.
Deion Sanders is working his celebrity magic at Jackson State and Scott is hoping that if he builds Howard’s program correctly — and taps into the distinguished university that has produced so many high rollers in entertainment, sports and politics — he will also be able to increase its national profile and recruiting opportunities.
That Alabama job would’ve most assuredly come with a hefty pay raise, and possibly a shot at a full-time FBS gig in short order. But his decision to stay at Howard and build speaks volumes to his character and desire to bring consistency to a program in dire need of that amongst other things.
The famed HBCU’s last two head football coaches used Howard as a crutch to get back up the ladder. This time the Bison look to have a coach who wants to be there. Not to mention he has big-time FBS experience and for the HU Bison, that’s a very good starting point.