After 26 years of coaching football, Jeff Scott has landed his dream job at Kent-Meridian High School.
“Coming to coach at Kent-Meridian was a long-term goal I set for myself a long time ago,” Scott said. “For many years I coached (semi-pro football) here on French Field and I would always say, ‘I would love to be a high school football coach here.’ Many, many years later, it came full circle where the opportunity came for me to interview for the position. I interviewed many other places and didn’t get the position, but I knew I wanted to be here so I was going to do everything I could with my interview and put my best foot forward and I just went for it.
Scott replaces Brett Allen, who resigned last year after seven seasons as the Royals’ head coach. The Royals open the season Sept. 1 at Auburn in the Taylor Trophy game. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“I think that Kent-Meridian was looking for something that I offered that was unique and different,” said Scott, who works in the safety and security department for Seattle Public Schools. “I think it was a match made in heaven. I truly do. I am happy to be here. I love everything that it represents and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Scott, who grew up in Georgia and moved to the Pacific Northwest while in the military, has coached at the youth, high school and semi-pro levels. Most recently he was defensive coordinator at Garfield High School in Seattle. His other high school jobs included head coach at Seattle Lutheran from 2012 to 2014, defensive coordinator at Evergreen in Seattle from 2009 to 2010, defensive coordinator at Seattle’s Ingraham High in 2008, offensive assistant at Mount Tahoma in Tacoma from 2005 to 2006 and offensive line coach for Ballard from 1991 to 1992. His experience with youth football includes coaching Rainier Beach (1995-97) and serving as the Fort Lewis commissioner (1986-91).
He was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Blue Devils semi-pro team from 1996 to 1998, and the head coach and owner of the King County Jaguars (1999 to 2008) and Puget Sound Titans (2008-09) semi-pro teams. He was president of the Kent Predators Indoor Football League team from 2010 to 2011.
The King County Jaguars played at French Field.
“For five years straight, we never lost a home game. We did amazing things,” he said. “We would come here and we would play football and win. People were coming out. This was kind of like I call it the mecca. This is the mecca of football. I felt like I wanted to bring that same thing (to Kent-Meridian).”
Most of Scott’s coaching staff is also new this year. Only special teams coach Keith Mitchell returns.
“As a first year coach, we don’t evaluate the success of our program based on wins and losses,” Scott said. “It is that we are taking steps in the right direction, getting kids eligible to come out and play football, doing what is right on and off the field and doing some of the things that help build the program. I truly believe the character things you learn on the football field kind of transpire into life, so we are trying to win that battle first.”
‘Kids are phenomenal’
The team has a good mix of returning players and newcomers, including some transfers, Scott said.
“These kids are phenomenal,” he said. “The best attitude, no talking back, no disrespect, no fighting, no bickering. Everything we have said they have been 100 percent all in. I could not have asked for a better group of kids. We’ve got that unconditional love, fraternity and that player-coach relationship. That’s our strength.”
The team’s first goal this season is to win the Taylor Trophy in its season opener against Auburn at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at Auburn Memorial Stadium.
With a victory last season, Auburn leads in the state’s second-oldest rivalry (48-47-13). Only Aberdeen-Hoquiam, which began in 1906, has run longer.
“It’s great to win the Taylor Trophy, but I want (the players) to understand the history of why it’s called the Taylor Trophy, who it’s named after, so when you take possession you know where it came from,” Scott said. “Auburn has been very successful in keeping that. So coming in with the new program, let’s start it off right, and bring it back.”
The Royals need the community’s support to be successful, Scott said.
“We have to have a good community and school relationship,” he said. “We need to pick up sponsors. We want the stands to come back to the good ol’ days, where every Friday people are coming out to support their local athletes. … “I want everybody in the Kent-Meridian area to come out to the games. That’s the goal. Imagine you come down the hill and you look up there and there’s 2,000 people. Your A-game instantly comes out. But, you come down there and there’s a couple of moms and pa’s. It’s like OK. We’ve got to play, but it is not the same.”
Anyone interested in supporting the team, can contact Scott at kentmeridianfootball.com.