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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Q&A;: W-hoops assistant to take job back home

    Bernard Scott joined the Arizona womens basketball program this season, bringing plenty of experience, insight and presence. cott accepted a top assistant role at Youngstown State after one year as an assistant coach with the Wildcats.
    Bernard Scott joined the Arizona women’s basketball program this season, bringing plenty of experience, insight and presence. cott accepted a top assistant role at Youngstown State after one year as an assistant coach with the Wildcats.

    Bernard Scott accepted a top assistant role at Youngstown State after one year as an assistant coach with the Arizona women’s basketball team, he told the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

    Former UA head coach Joan Bonvicini hired Scott before this past season to serve as an assistant in player development, recruiting and as a de facto post specialist.

    After UA athletics director Jim Livengood fired Bonvicini on March 17 after her 10-20 season, former Kentucky assistant Niya Butts became

    Arizona’s eighth head coach on April 3. Butts opted not to choose either Scott or Jonelle Streed – the two remaining assistants from Bonvicini’s staff.

    Scott will begin his duties at YSU on Thursday.

    The Arizona Daily Wildcat caught up with Scott in a one-on-one conversation on Sunday in McKale Center, and discussed the season, his respectful personality and what the future entails.

    Wildcat: One word: Your experience here as an Arizona assistant coach.

    Scott: One word to describe … Wow.

    W: How about a couple words?

    S: I would say a learning experience. Everything doesn’t work the way it looks – for me anyways. For me, it was a big learning experience.

    W: How about some of the things you’ve picked up from this learning experience?

    S: I picked up how to make tough decisions, and working with a lot of different situations I was put in. I think being here has really helped me develop more as a coach. My goal is to be a head coach and I think some of the things I experienced here will help me in the long run, whether they’re positive or negative situations. … I tried to always be active with people around here, but just with the situation we’re in, feeling like we’re probably out the door, you learn how to really talk to people.

    W: What are some moments this season that really stood out in your mind, whether they were positive or negative?

    S: Amina Njonkou. She really impressed me because the first thing I told her when I got here was, “”You should be (an) all-conference player. If you work hard and believe in yourself, you can be one of the best players in this league.”” What stood out to me was how consistent she was the whole year and how hard she worked – everything I gave her, it just soaked in.

    Another thing is (pause) I don’t know, Bryan. To be honest, this wasn’t a great experience for me, so that’s why it was hard for me to think of a lot of great moments. This was the most stressful (year) of my coaching career. With all the drama we had going on within the team, with all the academic problems, emotional problems, it was hard to just be a coach.

    W: Obviously it was a roller coaster season on and off the court – how do you think that’s going to help you in future coach endeavors?

    S: I’ll definitely be better prepared. The one thing being here showed me is that you’ve got to recruit quality players on and off the floor – and that can cut out a lot of problems we had this year. Just what we went through this year prepares me because now I know how to deal with those situations when they come about, where, walking into this year, this is my first time experiencing (those issues). And now when I have my own program, I can say, “”OK, this is how I’m going to handle this, this is how I’m going to go about solving the problems.””

    W: And that’s a big part of college sports – they’re student-athletes.

    S: You gotta recruit good kids. You gotta recruit the student along with the athlete. You can’t just recruit the athlete. … What happens when they lose off the floor, it hurts more.

    W: Since day one at media day, I asked every player about your impact. You were a big impact to a lot of players, showing them a lot of respect. How important is respect to be a successful coach?

    S: It’s very important. Whether it’s showing respect to the equipment managers, janitors, whoever – it’s very important whoever you come across you treat them like they’re important, because they are. They’re doing something to help your program and make your program a success, whether it’s you as a student writing articles for us, or it’s the equipment manager giving kids the shoes. My parents brought me up that way.

    W: Did you permanently move here to Tucson when you first got the job?

    S: Yeah we did – my wife and I bought a condo which we’re going to rent out. When I came here I thought we were going to get two years. I asked coach (Bonvicini), “”Are you confident you have your two years?”” We bought a condo with the idea we were going to be here at least two years. … It came a year sooner than we wanted it to, but that’s life.

    W: Has it been tough trying to relocate again?

    S: Yeah that’s tough, especially when you have your kid. We have a little 2-year-old. My wife’s tired a little bit. So it’s tough but I think this next move will be a few years, then hopefully my next one after that it’ll be to run my own program, which is my ultimate goal.

    W: How about your conversations with Niya Butts about possibly having you as an assistant coach? We’re you interested in coming back?

    S: Oh yeah, most definitely interested in coming back. Niya was very nice, but like any first-time head coaches, they want to bring in people they’re comfortable with and believe can help them win games. Being in this business, you know your chances of staying on with a new coach are very little. … She had people in mind and I just appreciated that instead of just calling to tell me, we met at the (NCAA Division I women’s basketball) Final Four, she actually took the time to sit down and just say, “”Hey I have people in mind, but if anything changes I’ll definitely let you guys know.””

    W: Can you see yourself in her shoes in a few years?

    S: Oh man. You know, I thought I could see myself in those shoes this year. … I definitely feel I’m qualified to be a head coach somewhere. I just need someone to give me an opportunity. It’s a hard spot I’m in because I’m a man in a female sport. Right now there’s a lot of (athletics directors that are) really big on hiring females for female sports. That’s what I’m behind right now, but if someone gives me a shot, they’d be the smartest AD in the country (laughs).

    W: Tell me about YSU and going back home to Ohio.

    S: I’m going to work for a successful coach. YSU has a good tradition, very successful in early ’90s, and they’re looking to get back there. It’s Ohio, where I have a ton of contacts, so we should get some good talent in there to get this thing rolling quick. It’s home for my wife, and I’m only an hour from home. My parents are happy and her parents are happy. It’s actually a blessing that’s the job I was able to get.

    W: What are you going to do with all your Arizona clothes?

    S: Give them away (laughs). My family gets excited when I leave a job.

    W: How about one thing you’ll miss about the desert? It’s about 90 degrees today.

    S: My wife’s at the pool right now. We’re definitely going to miss that. We met a lot of nice people here, so we’ll miss that, too. For the most part, we’re moving on to something better, that’s the way I look at it.

    – interview by Bryan Roy

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