Ron Harris – Howard University has a long tradition of great head football coaches. Coaches like Willie Jeffries and Steve Wilson who led their teams to national rankings, produced All American players and sent several players to the National Football League.
Lately the Bison have had instability at the head of their football program with 2 coaches in the last 3 years. Success on the field has been inconsistent, to say the least. After letting Ron Prince go in the middle of last year’s season, the administration has hired Larry Scott to lead the program back to the glory days.
Scott comes to Howard from the University of Florida, where he coached the tight ends. The native of Sebring, Florida, Scott will be a head coach for the first time, officially. He was the interim coach for 6 games in 2015 at the University of Miami and led his team to a 4-2 record including a bowl victory.
When introduced, Scott showed a lot of emotion and had to pause to gather himself. “I’ve never been one to hide my emotions when it comes to things I am passionate about doing,” said Scott. “Football has been such an important part of my life and to do what you love to do and make an impact on young people and do it at a place like Howard brought out my emotions.”
This is a tough time for veteran head coaches and to take your first head coaching job and deal with the health crisis, was not ideal for Scott. “We are doing the best we can under the situation and trying to keep this thing afloat…. it’s going great.” When does a coach think he is ready to lead a program? “For me it was going to work as a full time assistant and I have always been brought into leadership roles all through school. I always wanted to learn everything from top to bottom about the program. Everyday, I took the approach that I wanted to learn. It was like a constant job interview. I wanted to learn everything about how to run a program. It is something I always wanted to do so I embraced all the parts to become a leader.”
Howard came in the picture with a call from Scott’s agent who said Howard was looking to hire a head coach. “I had come close in some other opportunities, so I did my research and things worked out,” recalls Scott. “I am very familiar HBCU schools and football programs. I have several relatives that have attended HBCU schools. Howard always came up in conversations with my relatives and always stood up highly among schools.”
During a difficult season last year, a lot of young players got playing time for Howard and Coach Scott got a good look at some of those players on video. “Nothing is more valuable that getting in and experiencing the speed of the game. There is nothing you can do as a coach to simulate that. It was pretty encouraging that we had so many young guys who actually got out and played.”
Scott emphasized that he would allow his players to be young men and he says they can get into his doghouse by violating his core values. “Be honest, mostly to yourself, be respectful of women and no stealing, drinking or drug use.” Scott will have a long road to get the Bison back to the glory days, but Howard thinks they have their man.