Chad Scott couldn't wait to call his wife. The former Kentucky running back had just received an offer to return to the program where both he and his wife spent part of their collegiate athletic careers and he eagerly anticipated her reaction.
Chad Scott and his wife met at Kentucky during their collegiate playing days
It wasn't quite what he expected.
“She said, 'Stop lying,'” Scott said, laughing as he recalled the memory. “That was her first thought. I'm not lying. I'm not going to play about that.”
Scott wasn't lying. New coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown, his colleague at both Troy and Texas Tech, had asked the running backs coach join them in Lexington. Having fallen in love with the school and the city of Lexington during his two-year stay during college Scott was thrilled and figured his wife, former UK basketball player Shambrica Jones, would be as well.
She was, once she took her husband serious.
“She said, 'Let me go call somebody,'” Scott said. “What do you mean you're going to go call somebody to find out? I'm telling you. There's nobody to call.
“She was ecstatic. I remember when we went from Troy to Texas Tech I helped with the moving process but when I got his job she was like, just go, I'll take care of things. She was that excited about it. But it was so funny, 'Stop lying!' I ain't lying.”
With confirmation in hand the Scott family made their way to the place where it all began. The two met on campus before Scott transferred to North Carolina – injuries and a coaching change led to that decision – and were later married. For both, getting back to Kentucky was a dream they weren't sure they'd ever see become a reality.
“It was a dream job for me,” Scott said. “When people asked where I wanted to end up I always said I'd like to end up where it all started for me – Kentucky. I loved it here. That's why I chose to come here. I came a long ways from Florida to come here (for college). My wife continued her career here and graduated from here, so it was a dream job for me. When the opportunity came and the phone call happened, it was a no-brainer.”
Scott's career was cut short by leg injuries but he was still a talented enough player that he had short stints in the NFL with Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the New York Giants. He got into coaching in 2006 with a graduate assistant job at North Carolina before joining Brown at Troy. When Brown moved on to Texas Tech he brought Scott with him.
“Neal was the guy who showed me the ropes,” Scott said. “Organization, how to prepare for practice, how to game plan, all of that. He took me under his wing and we developed a great relationship. He had faith in me when he got the job at Texas Tech. I can't thank him enough for that.”
Brown, who played with Scott at UK during the 2000 season, maintained it was an easy decision to trumpet Scott's cause.
“The thing you get with Chad is that he's a hard worker,” Brown said. “He was a very good player and sometimes your top players don't really want to grind it out in the coaching profession, but Chad is as hard a worker as you'll ever be around. He does a great job recruiting and a great job with his guys. I can't think of one time in our six-plus years together that his guys haven't been prepared. Any time you're looking to hire guys you want great recruiters, good people, and guys who are going to get their guys prepared.”
Now that both are back at Kentucky Scott couldn't be happier. He helped land highly regarded prep running back JoJo Kemp despite playing catch up after landing in Lexington, in part because he believes in the product he's selling. For the Scott family, Kentucky isn't just another stop in the vagabond life of a coach.
“You've got to come here to see it,” Scott said. “When I was being recruited as hard as Kentucky was recruiting me other schools were recruiting just as hard against Kentucky, telling me it wasn't a football school.
“You've got to come see it. Once you get here and see the reality (you know), so being a coach I've been here and can sell it. I bypassed five Division I schools in Florida to get here so it's an easy sell for me. One of the things I truly believe is we can win here.”
Not long after Scott hung up with his wife after giving her the good news he began packing a bag for Kentucky. She may have been attempting to confirm it wasn't a joke, but Scott wasn't wasting any time returning to the place where his heart had always been.
“It didn't take me long at all,” Scott said. “I just took off. It was a no-brainer.”
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