The man, the myth, the legend: Steve Scott
March 31, 2017
Filed under Sports
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Cherished coach, Olympian and passionate runner are all phrases to describe Track and Field Coach Steve Scott.
Born and raised in Upland, California, Scott’s interest for running didn’t begin until junior high when his friend encouraged him to join cross country.
“I got involved in eighth grade, we had a cross country race against our rival junior high after the race the high school coach would take the top thirty and try and recruit us. I had no idea what cross country was, I had no idea what it took and only got involved because my best friend said we could get our varsity letter our freshman year,” said Scott. “I didn’t get a love for running until after my sophomore year of college, where I ran on my own.”
Scott continued to work his way up to the top and ran for UC Irvine winning the Division II 1500-meter championship between 1975 and 1977.
He won the 1500-meter Olympic trials in 1980, but the U.S. team boycotted the games in Moscow. However, he won the silver medal in the International Association of Athletics Federations World Outdoor Championship and later competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.
Scott reminisced on his times spent at the Olympics, the stressful and enjoyable.
In 1984, “they ran in L.A. and it wasn’t a particularly fun experience because I put so much pressure upon myself where I had to win. But 1988 I had a whole different attitude, I was there to do the very best I could, I had fun and it was a much more positive experience. It’s an honor, it’s a privilege and it’s something I recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to do so.”
Scott didn’t get involved in coaching until Bob Mangrum mentioned an available position at Cal State.
“He said they were starting a track and cross country program at Cal State and if I knew anyone that’d be interested in coaching, he asked that thinking I’d never be interested … and I said ‘yeah, me.’ He was kind of in shock, and arranged me to meet the president and athletics director, next couple weeks I had the job.”
Flash forward to now and Scott’s 18 years at CSUSM have proved to be successful ones. He has brought hundreds of CSUSM athletes to National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Nationals; coached 31 cross-country All-Americans plus 108 track and field All-Americans.
“Coach Scott has transformed me. When I first came here, I was just a shell and he turned me into what I am today. He taught me how to work hard and not just on the track, but in all the aspects of my life. He’s taught me how to continually push myself, to never give up and to overall be a better person. Coach Scott is who I have to thank for who I am today,” said Senior Justin Washington.
Scott had the honor of receiving Association of Independent Institutions Cross Country Coach of the Year 10 times and achieved the NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year three times.
“When you get people to overcome the difficulties in their life, and set goals to work towards and achieve and when they actually achieve them, it’s more satisfying than anything I did in my career … when we won national championships in NAIA that was the ultimate fete, that was like winning a gold medal.”