Coach Chris Scott: The Man with the Heart for Basketball and His Athletes

November 18, 2021

By Jordan Holman

An 18-year-old basketball player from Oklahoma.

Standing 6’3 and weighing in at 190lbs., Christopher Scott seems to be the most intimidating person on earth.

He has been the head girls’ basketball coach at Hugo High School for almost 18 years. He has coached all levels from kindergarten, middle school, high school, and trained college athletes. Those that have had the opportunity to personally understand the method to Scott’s basketball genius would know him not only as a great basketball coach, but they would know him as a hero among us. Coach Scott is a hardworking, kind, and determined person. He puts his heart and soul into the perfection of his girls’ basketball program. Scott rules with an iron fist, but always shows compassion for his athletes in times of trouble. He also demonstrates drive and determination by setting goals for his team to be successful every basketball season.

Scott’s dedication to girls’ basketball is unheard of in Southeast Oklahoma. In the 18 years of Scott coaching high school basketball, he has turned the program into something for people to stand up and take notice of. When he first received the girls’ basketball program, they had a 1-23 record. He implemented a successful team-focused plan and incorporated positive centered motivation. After five years, his success rates for winning games and going deep into the state playoffs was unheard from a failing program. It is his drive and determination that opened the doors of success for all of his girl’s teams’ past, present, and future.

If you took a brief look into the background of Chris Scott as a player, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn he started playing basketball at an early age in his hometown of Hugo, Oklahoma. Upon graduating from Hugo High School, his choice to play basketball at junior college Northeastern Oklahoma College in Miami, Oklahoma was fitting coming from a small town. After completing two years at NEO, he moved to Washington and attended Washington State University. Scott only completed a year and a half at Washington State before transferring to Idaho. Unfortunately, he had a short-lived stay in Idaho and decided to move to Houston where he took a year off from school and basketball and decided to work just to make ends meet. Scott stayed in Houston for a year, but while in Houston, he received offers to go overseas and play basketball on a professional level. However, months after he started his professional career, personal reasons compelled Scott to move back to Hugo and continue his education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma, where he obtained his degree in Physical Education.

His first coaching job came from his high school alma mater. He became the head coach of the freshman boys’ basketball at Hugo and assistant of the varsity team. He went on to coach boys for three years, which led to a head coaching position for varsity for girls’ basketball. In the interview with him, I asked Coach Scott who he thought was the greatest influence in the game of basketball, and he said, “My greatest influence was Michael Jordan. I liked his drive, his style of play, and his approach to the game of basketball.”

One of the biggest parts of coaching a sport is the love for the game, and I think that Coach Scott really loves the game. When I asked him to give me one word to describe him, he responded  with “determined.”

“I like to think that I am determined to get the best out of my athletes and influence their approach to the game of basketball, ball practices, and life with a positive outlook,” he said.

Reflecting on my discussion with Coach Scott, It led me to believe that these qualities that he instills in his athletes make him more than just a coach; it makes him a role model, mentor, and in some cases a friend. Almost mid-way through my interview, I asked him a few more important questions. They were, what is the one thing that people do not know about you, and how would you want to be remembered. He hesitated for a minute and then he responded, “People don’t know that I get nervous right before our season opener. I try to keep my composure so my kids do not get nervous, and I want people to remember me as a hard worker and kind.”

The simple fact that he gets scared before a game and he wants to be remembered as kind brings all my assumptions of him being a great coach full circle. Notably, another big part of coaching is doing your part in bettering the community. Coach Scott has spent many years working and partnering with community leaders. He has partnered with a committee that started the Boys & Girls Club of Hugo, which provides a safe fun space for kids to go after school. He also is the founder of Red River Hoops Inc., which is an organization that helps young athletes develop and cultivate individual skills toward the game of basketball while offering mentoring to the youth in the community. Along with all of the programs he has partnered with, he has provided support for Project G.A.I.N, which is a non-profit organization that empowers and uplifts girls and boys in all aspects of life whether it’s school or sports. He also offers leadership within his church and community as a youth minister. Significantly, this confirms the outstanding character of Chris Scott. He not only teaches hard work and determination, but he also teaches kindness and love for others through work in the community and church.

Coach Scott has traveled and seen many places. He has experienced the game of basketball at all levels and could very well coach at all levels. His life as a basketball coach certainly has had highs and lows, but every experience has made him a better coach. When asked what the hardest and the easiest or most fun part about coaching is, he responded, “The hardest part for me would be preparing athletes to be mentally tough. Once they get mentally tough the physical toughness automatically follows. The fun part of coaching is lifelong relationships with people that you have hoped to have positively impacted, and of course, winning.”

In essence, there are many great qualities that make a great coach, and I feel blessed and lucky to have seen a first-hand example through Coach Chris Scott. I have had his influence my entire life. He told me something that had an impact on a situation I am currently facing.

He said, “We as a society want to see immediate results, but as a program, it takes time to see results of all your hard work.”

When he makes statements like that, it makes you look at your situations in a different light. I have had many conversations with teammates from previous years, and we realized in our discussions that since we have gotten the chance to know him personally we understand that he was much more than a basketball coach, he is a superstar.