CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – When Chad Scott first arrived at Troy as running backs coach in March 2007, he noticed something peculiar about the walls of the football offices. There were no decorations of any kind, no photos or plaques, just blank space.
So Scott, in his first job as an assistant coach after serving a year as a graduate assistant in Chapel Hill, decided to make an executive decision in hanging a large poster on a wall. It was a photo of his second touchdown run against No. 4 Miami in UNC’s 31-28 upset win on Halloween in 2004.
Scott rushed for a career-high 175 yards and two touchdowns in the victory that saved John Bunting’s job and turned UNC’s season around. His fellow assistant coaches at Troy promptly gave him grief for his choice of wall art, forcing him to take it down, although the impact of that night has followed him throughout his coaching career.
“Everywhere I’ve been I’ve shown that film,” Scott said on Wednesday.
Not long after his touchdown poster came down in ’07, Oklahoma State, with an offensive coordinator by the name of Larry Fedora, came to town after Troy had dropped its first two games of the season by 20 and 28 points, respectively. Scott showed the UNC-Miami clip during a team meeting in the week leading up to the Friday night kickoff. The Trojans jumped out to a 37-7 first-quarter lead over the Cowboys and cruised to a 41-23 victory.
In October 2011, Texas Tech traveled to Norman with a 1-2 Big 12 record to play No. 3 Oklahoma, but before the Red Raiders departed Lubbock, Scott made sure his team watched his UNC-Miami film. Texas Tech pulled the 41-38 upset, ending the Sooners’ 39-game winning streak.
His reason for showing the footage was not to highlight his own success, but the rather to highlight the value of team chemistry and trusting in one another.
“I was showing the clip not so much because of the game, but because of the circumstances we were in,” Scott said. “I remember it vividly. We were able to overcome all doubters and pull out a big victory. It wasn’t just me. It was everybody.”
His wife, Shambrica, has grown tired of hearing about the Miami game, and there’s little doubt his children will join their mother in that regard at some point. That defining moment, however, has stayed fresh in Scott’s mind as his consistent upward trajectory in the coaching ranks has landed him back at his alma mater.
Scott told reporters the decision to return to Chapel Hill was a “no-brainer” and that he accepted the position not long after Fedora offered. It was the second time Scott had interviewed at UNC, the first coming during his time at Texas Tech when Fedora initially took the job in Dec. 2011.
“It didn’t work out then and so I thought, ‘man, I may never have a chance to come back,’” Scott said. “I think I left a pretty good impression on those guys, the kind of person I was, both coaching and as a recruiter, so I think that’s what gave him the confidence to come back to me. And I’m glad he did.”