By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
For the third time in four years, Howard University will take the field with a new football coach this fall. Multiple reports say University of Florida’s tight end coach Larry Scott is expected to leave one of the premiere college programs in America for the chance to lead the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference program in the District.
This is the third consecutive hire for the program, which has made a consistent habit of landing major college coaches with lukewarm results. However, inside the insulated coaching fraternity, despite the revolving door on their sideline, the head football coach’s job in Northwest, D.C. is attractive to Black coaches on every level. Howard has taken advantage of getting another position coach from a power five conference, while successful coaches from HBCUs apparently weren’t considered.
Scott would be replacing Ron Prince, who was forced to resign post one season at the HBCU, after leaving the University of Michigan, time in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and serving as head coach at Kansas State. His predecessor, Mike London, was hired after being head coach at the University of Virginia where he was once an Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year. London previously led the Richmond Spiders to an FCS national championship and left the University of Maryland staff as an assistant before taking the Howard job.
If the 43-year-old Scott is ultimately hired by the University, it would be his first chance to be a full time college head coach on any level. He was, however, an interim coach at the University of Miami in 2015 finishing with a 4-2 record after replacing Al Golden, who was fired during midseason. The Hurricanes lost to Washington State in the Sun Bowl to conclude that season.
Scott is known as an outstanding recruiter with extensive ties to the state of Florida. He reportedly excels in areas near his hometown of Tampa. The sunshine state is to college football recruiting what the DMV is to those looking for the best high school basketball talent. That would appear to bode well for an increase in the talent base, though Howard has been able to recruit from the area extremely well previously.
He played college football at the University of South Florida from 1996-99. After graduating Scott began his life after playing by working in an administrative role in 2005, managing high school relations at USF. Scott also worked at two Southeastern Conference programs. He worked under the architect for the rebuilding of historically stellar programs at University of Tennessee and Florida for one of college football’s rising stars, Dan Mullen.
Scott faces the task of trying to help the Bison rebound from a 2-10 season that began with such promise. The program lost several key players during the troubling season where several players defected after well-publicized allegations of verbal abuse by Prince. He would be the final hire among the 12 FCS programs with vacancies. It was important for Howard to make this hire before the national signing period for recruits began on Feb. 5.
This national coaching search by Howard was not organic. The university paid for a national firm to lead the hiring of Scott.