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Coaching legend Scott passes
Given the appropriate nickname “Great Scott” by a former Screven County High School football coach, Coach Harold Lee Scott passed away on Sunday, Nov. 19, at home surrounded by his family.
A statewide basketball coaching legend, for two generations in places like Nahunta, Canton, Savannah, and Sylvania he was “Mr. Basketball.”
Concluding the final 13 years of his illustrious career at SCHS, Scott retired following the 2000-2001 campaign just before the new gymnasium was named in his honor. Between the fall of 1956 in Nahunta (now Brantley County High School) and the winter of 2001 here, Scott achieved an overall coaching record of 746-307. He was 170-23 in girls play and 576-284 in boys play.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Nov. 25, at noon at the Harold Lee Scott Gymnasium on the Screven County High School campus with Minister George Pevey and Dr. Charles Cravey officiating. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 10 a.m. to noon.
Interment for Scott, a U.S. Army veteran, will be with military honors at the Screven County Memorial Cemetery.
“Coach Scott was a monumental figure at SCHS,” said Brian Scott, the high school principal and athletic director. “He was an excellent coach, but he cared more about kids and people in general than he did about winning.
“Even after he retired, he still came to all of our athletic events and supported our students,” the SCHS principal said. “Our gym is named after him. That says just how much he meant to our school and community. Our school and community lost a great supporter and truly great person.”
The coaching icon is survived by his wife, Marie Evans Scott of Sylvania; daughters and sons-in-law, Lee Ann Scott (Luther Polk) of Statesboro, Tamara Scott Davis (Chris Davis) of Bluffton, S.C., Tracey Scott-Smith (Woody Smith) of Sylvania; grandchildren: Bailey Davis Rummler (Noah Rummler) of Atlanta, CT Davis of Columbia, S.C., Logan Smith of Sylvania, and Kinslee Polk of Statesboro.
For Scott, there were three state championships, three state runner-ups, and eight region championships with the boys. His girls tenure at Cherokee County saw Scott win a state championship, two state runner-up finishes, while winning five region titles.
At his first three stops as a boys basketball head coach, Scott had records of 86-17 in three seasons at Nahunta, 125-40 in six seasons at Cherokee County, and 203-38 in eight seasons at Savannah High.
Following a state title at Savannah High School in 1974, he retired from coaching and came home to Screven County to manage his father’s farming organization. During his coaching hiatus, he was an interim boys basketball coach at Armstrong State College (now university). Ready to get back to full-time coaching, Scott accepted the job as the head coach of the Screven County Gamecocks beginning in the fall of 1987.
Though his final 13-year record was 162-189 at SCHS, he led the Gamecocks to the only region title in the school’s history in 1989. That team advanced to the Final Four in Macon before losing on a last second three-pointer to East Rome who won the state title the next night. That 1989 season also produced the only state playoff victories ever by a Gamecock boys basketball team. He also produced two of the other best seasons ever here.
Basically, every Hall of Fame that exists that he was eligible for has inducted him including the Screven County Athletic Hall of Fame; the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame; the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) Hall of Fame; and the Cherokee County Athletic Hall of Fame.
Scott received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Atlanta Tipoff Club in 1997. His Coach of the Year Awards are almost limitless, but they include the GACA Award in 1993, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1969, 1965, 1962 and 1959.
Too numerous to mention are his other coaching honors, but he coached the GACA North All Stars in 1962 and the GACA South All Stars in 1970.
Students at both Nahunta High School (1958) and Cherokee High School (1965) dedicated their yearbooks to him. The SCHS gym is named for him and the Nahunta (Brantley County) gym was dedicated to him and the 1958 state championship team.
Scott was born Oct. 1, 1933, in Screven County, to the late Harold and Katherine (Lee) Scott. He graduated from Screven County High School in 1950 at the age of 16 and continued his education at Mercer University in Macon on a baseball scholarship as a freshman starter. He participated in ROTC while there and graduated from Mercer in 1955. Following graduation, he served a six-month tour of active duty with the U.S. Army at Ft. Lee, Va.