Born in Sebring, Florida Larry Scott was apart of history when he took the field on September 6, 1977. Scott was a member of South Florida’s inaugural recruiting class in 1996 and a member of their first team in 1997, where he played offensive tackle. His history in the state of Florida runs deep, including three years at the University of Miami, where he coached for three seasons and was named interim head coach in 2015.
The Hurricane ties don’t run deep. Now wearing Orange and Blue Scott referred to his former employer as “that other school down south.”
Scott’s allegiance is clear but the time he spent at Miami is invaluable. From 2006-2012 Scoot coached various positions at his alma mater, USF. He joined Al Golden’s staff at Miami in 2013 as tight end’s coach. When Golden was fired midway through the 2015 football season Scott was promoted to interim head coach.
It was the week after a 58-0 loss to Clemson, one of the worst in Canes’ history. Miami was also 4-3 and still trying to salvage the season by getting to a bowl game.
“There was a six-game stretch where we had to do it. So it was right in the middle of the program,” he said. “We weren’t bowl eligible yet and had to reach bowl eligibility and get that, and we were able to do that. Just that experience and sitting in that chair gives you the perspective. Everything in life’s about perspective.”
Scott had been a position coach his entire career. He had never run an offense or defense before being named interim head coach. The two months he spent holding that job gave him perspective on what it’s like to run a program, to have your hand in every aspect of a gameplan and a team. He explained it in a way only he can.
“When you go back and sit in that chair, and you sit back and you watch and you’re responsible now for all the pieces, you know, the mushrooms, the pepperoni, everything that you put on a really good pizza, right? You’re sitting back and you’re watching and you’re having to manage all those pieces, from every trainer to every manager to where are we going to eat, what time are we leaving, what’s the treatment schedule, what’s everything,” he said. “You gain a really profound respect for what the head coach actually do from the time he wakes up in the morning to the time he lays his head down.”
Miami finished the season with a 4-1 record under Scott’s direction before a loss in the Sun Bowl. Shortly after the season commenced Scott moved on to the University of Tennessee where he became the tight ends coach. He spent two years there before he was apart of another coaching change. Scott says he enjoyed his time off, taking his kids to school, figuring out the drop off and pick up schedule and just being a dad but he wanted to get back to work.
When he picked up his phone and heard, “Hi, this is Dan Mullen,” Scott was instantly intrigued.
“You know about him from being in the State of Florida. He’s a guy that’s coached at several schools and has head coaching experience,” Mullen said of Scott. “One of the things I loved that there were a lot of players that wanted him to be the permanent head coach when he was there. I think that says a lot about his relationship with guys on the team.”
Now back in his home state Scott is taking the same mentality that has kept him in college football since 2006. It’s a blue collar, put your head down and grind work ethic that has allowed him to survive and thrive as a coach at this level and he has the experience to make it work and make Mullen’s first year a success in Gainesville.