Embracing history

Published 8:51 am Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AHOSKIE – He knows the program from multiple levels.

Now Scott Privott will learn the Hertford County High School football program from the top. From his days as a player at the former Ahoskie High School to 19 years as an assistant JV, assistant varsity and Head Junior Varsity coach, Privott understands what Bear football means.

Privott was named the seventh Head Football Coach in the history of Hertford County High School two weeks ago. He replaces Diego Hasty, who spent two years at the helm of the HCHS program, but who was one of a dozen casualties of staff cutbacks in Hertford County Public Schools.

While there have been a few coaches who played at HCHS, Privott is perhaps the most insistent that history is a key factor in his plans.

“To me the history is the most important part – to try to get the football program back to the way it was,” he said. “There are certain things that we were accustomed to when I was a player in the 80s that I want to get back to.”

Privott said those things include discipline, the fact that missing practice is unacceptable and that players expect to win when they walk on the field.

“A lot of times when we went places when I was a player, we won the game before we opened the door and stepped on the field,” Privott said. “That was the mystique of the program.”

Privott credits a lot of the program’s success and his own personal success to Daryl Allen, the Hall of Fame HCHS and Ahoskie High skipper who he both played under and coached under.

“He’s extremely knowledgeable,” Privott said. “I’ve learned so many things from him, not necessarily the big things, but the little things that he pays attention to.”

Privott said he also gleaned football knowledge from other former HCHS skippers including Greg Watford, Bryan Moorings, Dealton Cotton and the late Carl Brock.

“You’ll see all of their influences,” Privott said.

Shortly after being approved to take the helm by the Hertford County Board of Education, Privott met with his players.

“I think the first meeting went great,” Privott said. “We talked more about discipline than anything else. When you’re running a program, if you don’t have discipline, you’re not going to have anything.

“If a student-athlete can’t do right between 8:30 and 3, you can’t count on him on Friday night when its fourth-and-one,” Privott insisted. “If they can’t behave and do well in the classroom, you can rest assured they’ll jump offsides or hold when its fourth-and-one.”

While he will be insistent on discipline, Privott said he doesn’t believe any of the players were surprised by what they heard at his initial meeting.

“These guys have all played for me before,” Privott said. “That’s the advantage of having been the JV coach. They knew where I was coming from.”

The reception in the community has been equally satisfying, Privott said.

“The reception of the community has been truly great,” the coach said. “I can’t ask for better.”

As he goes about the task of organizing a staff, Privott will keep some of the same faces in the same places for the Bears.

Heading up the assistant coaching staff will be the veteran of the group – Paul Moore – who has been named Assistant Head Coach, a position he previously held under Watford.

“Coach Moore was my first coach at Ahoskie High School,” Privott said. “It’s Heaven sent to have him on my staff. His main job will be to help keep me focused and under control.”

Also returning to a familiar role will be Ronald Gatling, who will remain Defensive Coordinator, a position he held last season under Hasty.

While Privott will call the plays himself, he has enlisted the aid of Rabbit Weaver to help with the offensive side of the football.

As for position coaches, Privott has named Moorings defensive backs coach, Terrance Saxby linebackers coach and has designated Weaver to work with the wide receivers and Moore to lead the offensive line.

As for strategy, Privott will use some of what he learned from each of his predecessors.

“We’ll be a spread team,” he said. “We’ll be no huddle and have an up-temp offense. We’ll still use the wishbone when we get down inside the 10, however. Also, we go back to some of the options of the flexbone, but everything we do will be from no huddle.”

Privott will run a base 4-3 defense and promises to be aggressive from that scheme.

“We’re blessed with our whole secondary coming back,” the coach said. “That means we’ll be able to do a lot up front because we’ll be able to use man coverage.”

As he plans for the fall, Privott is excited about the opportunity that is ahead of him.

“Being able to be the head coach at my alma mater is the most exciting part,” Privott said. “When I first started coaching, Mr. Alfred Harris told me if I was going to be a football coach, to set goals and that’s what I did.”

The coach said he would focus on kids, but also on the development of the program.

“I truly believe you can have a program that puts kids first,” he said. “If you disciple a child, you are looking out for his future. The best glory won’t come then, but when they come back and tell you what you did for them changed their lives.

“Ben Anthony was harder on me than even Coach Allen or Coach (Richard) Murray,” Privott said. “I appreciate him to this day.”

As the Bears get ready for new leadership, the easiest way to find out what type it will be is to look to the past.