New OC Larry Scott is doing something no coordinator has ever done at Tennessee
Tennessee recently made history by appointing Larry Scott as its new offensive coordinator.
Scott — previously the UT tight ends coach — was promoted in January to run the Vols’ offensive scheme. In the 121-year history of the football program, Scott is the first African-American offensive coordinator.
The significance of landing this job is certainly not lost on Scott. In fact, he’s looking at it as an opportunity to further bridge the gap between D1 coordinator positions and the lack of African-Americans getting these jobs (as he told the Knoxville News Sentinel):
“It is quite an honor. I have always tried to just keep my head down and work hard and at some point in your life you hope you get rewarded. Right now is an example of that. I hope it is something that leads to another African-American coach having the opportunity to be coordinator at a place like Tennessee and in the SEC. I hope this can be an example to give them when they are ready to do it at this level.”
While strides have been made in regards to African-Americans garnering head coaching and coordinator positions on the college level, statistics show small numbers in this capacity.
As of 2015, 53.4-percent of the players in the FBS are black. However, only 10.2-percent of the head coaches are African-Americans. This equates to 13 individuals out of 128 jobs.
Within the SEC, Scott is the only black OC that doesn’t hold a “co-offensive coordinator” title. There are also only 17 African-American offensive coordinators within the FBS.
This is certainly something that should be addressed going forward. Scott is surely attempting to use this platform to function as a role model for fellow aspiring African-Americans coaches:
“I am a little different in that way. I never looked at that as a hurdle. I looked at those things as opportunities or a springboard to continue to grow and learn. I have always wanted my reputation to precede the color of my skin. I was never out to prove anything or seen that as a chip on my shoulder so to speak.”
His mother, Ernestine Stone, is incredibly proud of her son for attaining this position:
“Larry never let race be a hindrance. All he needed to do was achieve academically and he would be successful. You had to instill into young black men to be ready academically if you wanted to be successful. Make the A’s and the B’s or you can’t compete. Being athletically gifted can be easily taken away from you, but your academic scholarship can’t be taken away from you.
It brings tears to my eyes to see Larry achieve this at Tennessee because Larry has taken each step as an opportunity to his greater success. Each milestone in his career has been a steppingstone to his goal, and he has tried to show the young men he is coaching, no matter what your background is, you can still overcome and thrive.”