After taking a year off, McKinley Scott saw an opportunity to get back into coaching and build a program.
The Coahoma County School District board voted to name Scott the Coahoma County Red Panthers’ high school football coach during the May board meeting. Scott succeeds Mario Lane, who was the coach for two seasons.
“I just wanted to get back into coaching and I felt like it would be a great opportunity,” Scott said. “I know a lot of people from Clarksdale. I just honestly thought it would be a great move for me as well and then just being able to work with the young men. This program, I think it’s going to need a lot of rebuilding and that’s something that I’m ready to do. I think it’s something that God is calling me to do.”
Scott is from Tunica and a 2000 Rosa Fort High School graduate. He was a wide receiver and safety in football, a shooting guard in basketball and ran track. He was named to the all-state football team in high school and earned many other athletic honors while playing for Rosa Fort. He is a 2005 Mississippi State University graduate with a degree in business and a minor in management. He was a receiver for the Bulldogs and his teammates included Clarksdale natives Mario Haggan, who played in the NFL, and the late Darren Williams.
Scott was the Rosa Fort head coach in 2010 and took the Lions to the playoffs after not being a contender the previous year. Then he became the basketball coach where he won three district championships and missed the state tournament by one game three times.
He remained as an assistant football coach through most of his tenure at his alma mater. He was the receiver and defensive backs coach in 2012 and 2013, offensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015, receivers coach in 2016 and offensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018.
Scott said the offense averaged 35 points in 2017. As the No. 4 seed in the 2018 playoffs, he said the Lions knocked off the No. 1 team.
He was in Memphis the past school year helping with different skill camps for football and basketball. He also taught physical education at Cornerstone Prep in the Memphis area.
Now, Scott is ready to use his connections with the Clarksdale area to build a program for the Red Panthers.
“I have a lot of good guys that I know,” Scott said. “From dealing with those guys, it’s some great athletes in Clarksdale, Miss. I’ve always wondered why the County wasn’t successful because I feel like it’s no way they don’t have the athletes to compete on the level they are on.”
Scott said his goal is to build something the community and young men can be proud of, build a program from the ground up that builds character and a family type environment with discipline.
Scott is the team’s eighth coach since 2011 and believes stability could turn the program around.
“To me, something just doesn’t sit right because I don’t see you having all these great athletes, but you can’t put it together,” he said.
Scott has not put together a coaching staff, but he has talked with current Coahoma Early College High School coach Jeremiah Brassell about the possibility of being an assistant. The future of CECHS football is up in the air and athletes from the Tigers might be playing for the Red Panthers next season.
“I think it would be a great connection and a way to help me out to build a gap between any of the children that come over from Aggie,” Scott said. “He’s a seasoned coach. The children respect him. I think that would be something that I could build on and a good relationship with him and the young men that are coming over here.”
Scott said he plans to follow state guidelines when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he understands the importance of hitting the ground running with his program and having athletes working out.
He said, most likely, eight players and two coaches or nine players and one coach will be in the weight room at one time.
“If they are willing to work with me on that, my goal is to keep everything under 10 and kind of just have one coach in, have guys come in and start a workout plan,” Scott said.