Football, Sports, WVU Sports

COLUMN: Chad Scott’s promotion isn’t flashy, but it’s deserved

The internal promotion of Chad Scott from running backs coach to offensive coordinator is not going to excite many WVU fans.

With 2023 looking like a true make-or-break season for the Mountaineers and head coach Neal Brown, an internal hire will do little to bolster the fanbase’s spirits around a program that has done little more than spin its wheels for the last four seasons.

While Scott’s promotion is unlikely to have anyone rushing out to buy season tickets, it certainly excited WVU’s players.

In a video posted to WVU’s Twitter account announcing Scott’s promotion, Brown revealed the decision in front of the team in the Milan Puskar Center. The players immediately burst into cheers as Scott went across the first two rows of seats giving out high-fives as if he were a rock star.

“I was looking for a teacher, someone that can go into a classroom in front of a large group of people and be able to deliver a message and be able to motivate and teach,” Brown said in the video. “Then I was looking for somebody who could develop relationships and somebody who is centered around development. The guy that earned this opportunity and will make the most of it is Chad Scott.”

Internal hires are rarely exciting for a team, especially a team in desperate need of an injection of excitement and life like the Mountaineers. That being said, Scott’s promotion is not without merit and it gives a truly deserving man the chance to be a first-time coordinator.

Scott has been one of the most effective, and loyal, members of Brown’s staff since they got to Morgantown in 2019. Brown and Scott first coached together at Troy in 2007 and then stayed together for eight seasons, eventually moving on to Texas Tech and later Kentucky. Brown returned to Troy as head coach in 2015 and Scott moved on to North Carolina, but the pair reunited when Brown was hired at WVU in 2019 and brought Scott on board.

Since then, Scott has excelled in his role as running backs coach and the team’s rushing attack had a marked improvement when he was named run game coordinator last season.

WVU’s rushing numbers have improved every year since 2019 going from a paltry 879 total yards that year to a robust 2,058 last season.

Perhaps the biggest endorsement of Scott’s abilities, however, is the fact that WVU has produced rushing success solely using home-grown talent. Even as the transfer portal runs rampant across college football, the Mountaineers have never brought in a transfer running back (WVU did sign Clemson transfer Lyn-J Dixon, but he was dismissed from the team following spring practice and never played).

Instead, Scott has produced results the old-school way, signing and developing high school recruits.

“I think the thing that Chad does is he’s really consistent on his approach with (the running backs) and how he coaches those guys,” Brown said last season. “There’s a level of feedback that’s consistent. When they do well, he is really positive that they’ve done something well. And when they don’t do something the way he’s coached them to do it, then he’s transparent with them. I think there’s a respect there because they know he’s going to be truthful and when it’s his fault, he takes ownership of it.”

The other area where Scott has excelled is player retention, as running back is one area where WVU has lost very few players to the portal. Leddie Brown stayed on the team and developed into a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, Tony Mathis stayed in a reserve role for three seasons before becoming the team’s starter in 2022 and all four running backs that played last season — Mathis, CJ Donaldson, Justin Johnson and Jaylen Anderson — have stayed on roster thus far this offseason.

Scott is not the exciting, program-changing, lightning-rod hire that many people were clamoring for, but he is about as good of an internal option as there could possibly be. And as the man who has built the team’s strongest position group, the odds he’ll keep the Mountaineers’ offense heading in the right direction this season seem to be pretty good.

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