According to an article in The Undefeated by ESPN, former interim Miami football head coach Larry Scott turned down Nick Saban and Alabama as the Crimson Tide’s tight end coach. Scott was the interim head coach for the final six games with Miami in 2015 following the firing of Al Golden in 2015.
Scott was hired as the head coach at Howard in February 2020 and is just now coaching the Bison on the field after the 2020 fall season was postponed because of COVID-19. Following three seasons as the TE coach at Miami and six games as the interim HC, Scott was on the staffs at Florida and Tennessee for two seasons each.
Scott led the Miami football team to a 4-2 record as the interim HC, including a 20-14 loss to Washington State in the Sun Bowl. In 2017 with the Volunteers, Scott was the offensive coordinator. As with most African-American coaches, the opportunity for Scott to become a head coach was scarce despite his experience.
The chance to lead his own program Historically Black college and University Howard was his best chance. Despite the opportunity to work for Saban and the pre-eminent program in college football, Scott chose to stay at Howard, which is the alma mater of Vice President Kamala Harris. Scott was quoted by The Undefeated.
"“It’s Alabama, it’s Coach Saban, it’s one heck of an opportunity for any coach…It was more going back to my why and the purpose for even taking on the opportunity…It was a chance to run a program and be a head coach.We hadn’t begun to do anything. We hadn’t played a game. At that time, we hadn’t had a practice. For me and who I am and why I do what I do, it’s more important for me to stay.”"
Head coaches at HBCU’s do not often get a chance to move up to head coaching positions in FBS. Adam Rittenberg who wrote the article for The Undefeated stated the decision by Scott could be significant. Rittenberg also wrote that the decision by Scott was not an easy one without HBCU coaches getting that opportunity.
"“Decisions like Scott’s to stay could be significant, but until an FBS school hires an HBCU coach to lead its program, there will be doubts about which path to take.”"
Rittenberg discussed the stigma that HBCU coaches have. HBCU coaches have met through zoom meetings and seminars according to Rittenberg and strive to lead programs at the highest levels. Scott has interviewed for head coaching jobs before including the Miami football program following the 2015 season.
Former Hurricanes quarterback Mark Richt was eventually hired over Scott to lead the Miami football program. Scott also interviewed for head coaching openings at Florida Atlantic in 2019 who eventually hired Lane Kiffin and his alma mater South Florida in 2019 who hired Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott.
Scott has held jobs in the past that should allow him the opportunity to become a head coach at an FBS program. When Howard provided Scott the opportunity he took it. Rittenberg quoted Scott discussing the fact that many of his coaching colleagues would not understand his decision to accept the job at Howard.
"“(Some coaching colleagues) probably wouldn’t understand this move. Here’s an opportunity for you to go bet on yourself, bet on the fact that these things can be done at an HBCU, that you can become a head coach and put together a respectable program, a program that plays for championships.If you really hold true to why you do what you do, at the end of the day, the level of football becomes minuscule to the big scheme of it all. Why do we do what we do? Some guys purely do it for money, or they purely do it for the initials that are on your shirt when you walk into a school or a stadium.They want that, they need that, they crave that. Some guys do it for the day-to-day operation of what it means to leave an impact on young people’s lives, no matter where that is.”"
Scott has hired multiple assistants who have experience working at FBS programs and in the NFL. Vernon Hargreaves who was the Miami linebackers coach from 1998-2005 through 2005 is currently the defensive line coach at Howard. Scott appears to be in the right place and spoke about the perception of HBCU head coaches.
"“It puts you in a place of peace in doing what you say you love to do…If you operate off of your true intentions and your true why, the value is something you can’t place a dollar sign or the initials of a certain university around. You can’t. Because if not, you’ll be searching and bouncing around to job to job to job to job.Tell me where your true peace is. Tell me where you’ve truly had an opportunity to leave a legacy.”"
Scott was a good leader and in a tough situation with the Miami football program. Scott was named interim head coach following a 58-0 Miami loss to Clemson at home. Hurricanes cornerback Artie Burns then lost his mother suddenly in the week Scott took over. Miami won their first game under Scott in the Durham miracle.