UCA atmosphere makes coach back down

CONWAY – At the University of Central Arkansas staff meetings 11 years ago, Keith Scott got a glimpse of the future.

Scott, then a defensive-backs coach, was part of a Bears program that also featured 24-year-old quarterbacks coach Nathan Brown. Together they helped UCA to finish 7-4.

Their relationship was very relaxed, but Scott had a sense of where Brown was heading.

“Nate is naturally a leader,” Scott said. “I just noticed some things and I would remind him, ‘Dude, you’re gonna be a head coach someday. “https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/jul/15/ucas-atmosphere -tirage-coach-back /”

Scott had no idea that more than a decade later, not only would Brown be leading the very program they were both a part of, but he would return to Conway for the same role on Brown’s team.

“We have a lot of great young coaches on the defensive end of the ball. I think they’re all budding superstars,” Brown said. “So when you can bring someone with the experience [Keith] a, the years he spent as a coach, [that’s a great thing]. “

The mere fact that Scott is back with the Bears isn’t necessarily notable. Coaching changes, especially at the FCS level, are frequent and the UCA is not immune to staff changes. Earlier this month, former defensive back coach Chaz Scales left the program to join Western Carolina as defensive co-coordinator and safety coach.

But Brown, now entering his fourth season as a head coach, has maintained a relatively stable staff since taking office in 2018.

Assistant head coach Brooks Hollingsworth and offensive coordinator Ken Collums are each on their second stint with the Bears – both returned to Conway to surround the then 30-year-old Brown of experience. Offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Gunnar Boykin has held various positions with the program since 2015. Defensive coordinator and recently hired linebackers coach Matt Kitchens were with the program from 2015 to 2017 while Brown was the offensive coordinator. .

So while a new face might not be the norm, there is little about Scott that is new.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Watson Chapel High School, Scott began his coaching career with Prairie View A&M before spending three seasons at Mississippi Valley State. He then had his cup of coffee with the UCA, leaving after a year to take over as defensive coordinator at Division II University of Arkansas-Monticello.

Scott returned to FCS football in 2016, joining former Razorback Kim Dameron’s side in Eastern Illinois, first as a linebacker coach and then as a safety coach for the next two years.

Dameron was fired after the 2018 season, but Scott remained in the Ohio Valley Conference, coaching nickelbacks at Austin Peay for two seasons.

When the chance to return to his home country presented itself, Scott didn’t hesitate. His familiarity with the Bears made the decision easier.

“It’s like going back to the restaurant for the second time. You only go back for one reason: because it was good,” Scott said. “That’s how I look at UCA – you only come back for a second run or stay a really long time because it’s good. And traditionally, if you’ve been here in Central Arkansas for four years, you’ve got two conference championships. and three playoff appearances. “

Scott is very close to several members of the Bears staff. Hollingsworth was on the 2010 staff along with Brown and Scott. Collums attempted to hire Scott during his five-year tenure as Abilene Christian’s head coach.

When Brown went to introduce Scott to the current UCA defensive backs, Scott said he already knew half of them because he had recruited them in his previous stops.

“These are the people,” Scott said when asked why it was time to return to Conway. “Everyone has a stadium, everyone has a weight room, everyone has a movie theater, everyone has a math class, a science class, but what separates me from schools is people.”

As head coach, Brown wanted to keep a staff with purple and gray roots. And being a part of the Bears program in one way or another since 2004, Brown has built relationships with the many coaches who have been there.

It’s a formula that has led to success – UCA reached the playoffs in Brown’s second season and made it into the preseason top 15 again this fall – so don’t expect Brown to be in the top 15. ‘move away from so soon.

“The coaching world is very, very short lived,” Brown said. “People joke all the time, ‘Stay away from a coach because there’s a chance they’ll be leaving next year.’

“[But] people like to coach here. We have good kids and we recruit kids who are easy to train, so when you have a successful atmosphere and a family atmosphere, I think the coaches want to be here. “

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