Lacrosse ‘am­bas­sador’ and coach­ing le­gend

Scott, who later be­came AD, left last­ing mark on JHU

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Childs Walker and Mike Klinga­man

Be­fore board­ing the team bus for a road trip, each Johns Hop­kins lacrosse player re­ceived a hand­shake and a word of en­cour­age­ment from ath­letic di­rec­tor Bob Scott, an icon in their sport since be­fore many of the Blue Jays were born.

“While we looked at him a cer­tain way, as larger than life, he didn’t look at him­self that way,” re­called Dave Pi­etra­mala, who grew from one of those play­ers into the cur­rent men’s lacrosse coach at Hop­kins.

Scott, who left a last­ing mark on Johns Hop­kins as a na­tional cham­pi­onship­win­ning coach and hum­ble men­tor to count­less coaches and ath­letes, died Thurs­day of com­pli­ca­tions from Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

The life­long Bal­ti­more res­i­dent, who had re­garded Hop­kins as a sec­ond home since he ar­rived on the Home­wood cam­pus as an un­der­grad­u­ate, died at Bob Scott be­came men’s lacrosse coach in 1955 and won his first na­tional ti­tle in 1957. Gilchrist Hos­pice Care in Tow­son. He was 86.

Though Hop­kins’ lacrosse dom­i­nance traced back to the late 19th cen­tury, Scott won as con­sis­tently as any coach in uni­ver­sity his­tory.

He grad­u­ated from Hop­kins in 1952 af­ter serv­ing as cap­tain of the lacrosse and

foot­ball teams, be­came men’s lacrosse coach in 1955 and won his first na­tional ti­tle in1957. He won his sev­enth in1974, his last sea­son as coach. His over­all coach­ing record was 158-55-1.

Scott, who also coached foot­ball, bas­ket­ball, wrestling and soc­cer at Hop­kins, be­came the uni­ver­sity’s ath­letic di­rec­tor in 1973 and held that job un­til he re­tired in 1995.

“You’re not go­ing to find some­one who ever meant more to a uni­ver­sity,” said Pi­etra­mala, who met Scott when he took his first re­cruit­ing visit to the cam­pus in the 1980s.

“He was the con­science of the uni­ver­sity,” said Jerry Sch­ny­d­man, who played for Scott and went on to be­come a top ad­min­is­tra­tor and sec­re­tary to the board of trus­tees at Hop­kins.

Scott was a gi­ant in the sport but of­ten said to Pi­etra­mala, “I’m just an old-timer from For­est Park, Dave.”

He re­mem­bered ev­ery player and co-worker’s name and of­ten the names of fathers, moth­ers, brothers and sis­ters. When Pi­etra­mala vis­ited him in the hos­pi­tal a few days be­fore his death, Scott’s first ques­tion was about Pi­etra­mala’s fa­ther, Ge­orge.

Scott came to Hop­kins from For­est Park in the fall of 1948.

“He was a true am­bas­sador for lacrosse,” said Bill Tan­ton, 85, for­mer sports edi­tor of The Evening Sun who played with Scott at Hop­kins. “He was a skinny lit­tle guy, 145 pounds, but his heart and hus­tle made up for that. Bob took his lumps, but I never saw him get car­ried from the field.”

Scott’s own chil­dren and grand­chil­dren grew up around the Hop­kins pro­gram.

“He loved his fam­ily, Hop­kins and the game of lacrosse, though the or­der could change ev­ery now and then,” said his daugh­ter, Su­san Bracken of Tow­son.

An­other daugh­ter, Nancy Mohler, starred at Mary­land as a de­fender and helped the Terps win a na­tional cham­pi­onship in 1986. Af­ter the ti­tle game, an11-10 vic­tory over Penn State, Scott stood by him­self at the top of Byrd Sta­dium with tears in his eyes.

“I can’t be­lieve I rooted for Mary­land to win a lacrosse cham­pi­onship,” he told fam­ily.

Sch­ny­d­man, one of 42 first-team Al­lAmer­i­cans who played for him, re­called that Scott and his late wife, Margo, of­ten had play­ers over for din­ner. The Blue Jays knew their coach so well that it was easy to tran­si­tion to friend­ship with him af­ter they stopped play­ing.

But he was plenty de­mand­ing. When the play­ers ar­rived in the locker room each day, they found a prac­tice sched­ule taped to the wall with each drill delin- eated down to the minute.

“He laid out how we should act and how we should play,” Sch­ny­d­man said. “If we did some­thing stupid, he let us know in no un­cer­tain terms, though he was never de­mean­ing.”

Scott be­lieved in straight­for­ward for­mula — work hard, tell the truth and be­have like a gentle­man. “It all comes out in the wash,” he liked to say, mean­ing you couldn’t cheat the sys­tem.

As a coach, fire and brim­stone were never his shtick, said Dick Watts, an All-Amer­ica de­fense­man who grad­u­ated from Hop­kins in 1956.

“The worst he’d get was an ex­pres­sion on his face that let you know you weren’t do­ing the right thing,” said Watts, whose coach was best man at his wed­ding.

By the time he re­cruited Sch­ny­d­man from City Col­lege in 1963, Scott was al­ready a ma­jor fig­ure in the game.

“Back then there were only a hand­ful of great teams, so I knew he was a le­gend be­fore I even met him,” Sch­ny­d­man said. “It was like God him­self was talk­ing to me.”

Be­yond his suc­cess at Hop­kins, Scott grew into a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional am­bas­sador for lacrosse. In 1976, he pub­lished the first edi­tion of “Lacrosse: Tech­nique and Tra­di­tion,” which would serve as a key teach­ing man­ual for sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of coaches.

He helped in­tro­duce the sport to Ja­pan through a Hop­kins alum­nus who lived there. He did not view the trip as a lark, Sch­ny­d­man said. Scott threw his Ja­panese charges into pass­ing, catch­ing, shoot­ing and scoop­ing drills.

He felt deeply grat­i­fied when he re­turned a year later to find the Ja­panese had mas­tered his drills.

“He saw the larger world, and he wanted to share this gift that he had found here in the sport he loved,” Pi­etra­mala said.

De­spite de­clin­ing health in re­cent years, Scott never com­plained, said Mohler, of Lees­burg, Va.

“On Wed­nes­day, we asked him, ‘Dad, are you OK?’ And he said, ‘I’m fine,’ ” she said. “Then we cried and he said, ‘I had a blessed life.’ ”

Said Bracken: “He’s prob­a­bly start­ing a team up in heaven.”

Be­sides his daugh­ters, Scott is sur­vived by four grand­chil­dren.

The uni­ver­sity, which had al­ready planned to un­veil a statue of Scott at Home­wood Field on Oct. 15, will hold an on-cam­pus memo­rial ser­vice for the long­time coach next month, though Scott’s fam­ily said ar­range­ments are still be­ing made.

KIM HAIRSTON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN 1995

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