Last whistle for a legend

Lacrosse: Bob Scott coached Johns Hopkins to seven national titles, but he has been equally proud of his summer camp

now, that chapter in his life is closing, too.

July 30, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

His name is synonymous with the grand legacy of Johns Hopkins lacrosse. He continued that tradition in founding the area's first lacrosse camp, instructing enough boys and girls over the past 30 years to fill Homewood Field to capacity.

But today, Bob Scott will coach his last camp session, retiring for good from the game he helped define.

Scott, the winningest coach in Hopkins history, will trade in his clipboard next year for a spot among the parents and friends on the Gilman School hillside, watching his two grandsons play at camp. The weeklong, 2 1/2-hour evening sessions will retain Scott's name, with Hopkins coaches John Haus and Janine Tucker taking over as directors.

"The kids here might not know who Bob Scott is. But most people, when they talk about Johns Hopkins lacrosse, the name they'll think of is Bob Scott," said Jerry Schnydman, assistant to the university's president, who, along with Lucky Mallonee, has helped Scott every year since the camp's inception in 1970.

"If every kid could play for Bob Scott," said Schnydman, "there would be a lot better players and people out there today on the Division I level."

Scott, 69, preaches fundamentals and organization. When he and the late Henry Ciccarone heard of Jim Adams' success with a residential camp in West Point, N.Y., they came up with the idea of an evening clinic to teach basic lacrosse skills.

Three decades later, the daily schedule remains virtually the same. The Gilman location and the 6 to 8: 30 p.m. time frame have not changed. Even the photos of Hopkins' 1974 championship team that adorn the boys brochures have been annual fixtures since 1976.

The first year drew 205 boys, including eventual All-Americans Tom Keigler, Dale Kohler and Franz Wittelsberger. The original eight-member coaching staff listed in the first camp application also distinguished itself; six went on to the national Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the other two were honored as hall of famers by the Baltimore chapter.

The girls camp only goes back 23 years. It started after a mother wanted her daughter to attend the boys clinic. So Scott talked his daughter and one of her friends into joining the other girl to form the camp, which has grown to about 120 girls each year and has had a waiting list for the past five years.

Scott estimated that his camps have instructed more than 9,000 boys and 3,000 girls.

"It's been a lot of fun to have these kids come through," Scott said. "There was a real need for this camp. It served a real purpose. But I've done it long enough that all the paperwork occupies a good chunk of my time. Next year, I will have none of that responsibility and just enjoy it."

Growing up in the Forest Park area, Scott played baseball until the ninth grade, when he decided to give lacrosse a shot. Known more for his tenacity than physical gifts, he headed to Hopkins and worked his way onto the first midfield as a junior and senior, and was named honorable mention All-America his final season, 1952.

Upon graduating that year, Scott enlisted in the Army. In June 1953, he took a call from Hopkins athletic director Marshall Turner. Turner offered Scott the head coaching job.

"I said: `You mean the freshman team?' and he said no," Scott said. "I'm 23 years old, have zero experience and I'm offered the head job. That's the way things were back then.

"I still don't know why me. I'm almost dumbfounded. He took that gamble, and I guess some would say it worked out."

Still with another year in the military, Scott had to wait until the 1955 season to become coach. He then directed the Blue Jays for 20 years and coached seven national champions, 42 first-team All-Americans and was named Coach of the Year three times.

Players remember Scott's drive for winning as well as his temper.

They used to joke about how many clipboards he would break over his knee during a game.

But nothing compared with the practice week of a big game against Maryland. Scott would put on a helmet, pick up a goalie stick and challenge his players to shoot past him.

So did anyone ever score against Scott?

"I know I never did," said Mallonee, who played under Scott from 1964 to 1966 and has coached at the Park School for 24 years. "Lord, I didn't want to hit the coach."

Scott stepped down in 1974, when the Blue Jays sent out their legendary coach with the school's first NCAA tournament championship. He accepted the athletic director's job and stayed in that position from 1974 to 1995. The Blue Jays won another six NCAA titles during that time.

Yet he always spent two weeks in July teaching, coaching and stressing a team attitude.

In one of the more popular stories he tells to campers, Scott speaks about the time after Hopkins won the 1974 NCAA title and he was faced with the decision of whose jersey to hang in the Hall of Fame to represent the championship. Many thought it would be that of either of the team's superstars, Jack Thomas or Richard Kowalchuk, but Scott chose Phil Calderone, a little-used, hard-working reserve.

"If he thinks you're giving your 100 percent effort, you're OK with him," Schnydman said. "Even in his 30th year, he's still intent on making sure the right way is being taught at his camp."

Scott by numbers

Where Bob Scott ranks among Johns Hopkins lacrosse coaches:

Category No. Rank

Wins 158 1st

Games 214 1st

Seasons 20 1st

National titles 7 2nd

Winning seasons 16 1st

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