Today we honor and wish farewell to one of America’s best sportscasters.
My passion for journalism began long ago. As a child I always loved following current events, but the desire to make news apart of my career path came in high school when I was a part of my high school’s broadcast program.
In high school I remember watching Stuart Scott on camera as an example of how to conduct yourself while in front of the lens.
He was electric on camera and it only furthered my desire to follow this path. During my senior year I found myself covering sports as much as possible, partly because of Scott.
He was incredibly charismatic and an excellent sportscaster to model after, but as many know he was also much more.
Born in Chicago, Scott was apart of a large family who he loved: one of four, he had two sisters and a step-brother. His father was often very busy, but he always had time to spend with his family.
Scott spent formative years in North Carolina and attended R.J. Reynolds High in Winston-Salem. He went on to attend the University of North Carolina.
There he played on the club football team as a wide receiver and a defensive back, and he was a brother of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Additionally, Scott worked at the student-run radio station, WXYC.
He graduated with a degree in speech communication in 1987, and went on the work for WPDE-TV in Florence, S.C. It was there that he began using his first catch phase, “..cool like the other side of the pillow.”
Scott continued his career path by venturing to Orlando, Fl. There he joined the NBC affiliate WESH, where he met an ESPN producer named Gus Ramsey.
Ramsey was quoted saying, “You knew the second he walked in the door that it was a pit stop, and he was gonna be this big start somewhere some day.”
Although it was Al Jaffe, ESPN’s vice president for talent who would eventually bring Scott to Bristol, it was during his time in Florida that he would meet his first ESPN anchor, Chris Berman. Berman remembered that first meeting saying, “He stuck out his hand and said, ‘One day I look forward to working with you.” He replied to Scott saying, “Well, I tell you what, we’ll save you a seat.
Scott was scouted by Jaffe because of his belief that he would thought he would appeal to a younger audience. He got his first assignment for “SportsSmash”.
From there, he graduated to the anchor chair for ESPN’s “SportsNight”. Scott was wildly successful after that.
He anchored for “SportsCenter”, was featured in every issue of ESPN the Magazine, as well as being featured on multiple prime time sports talk shows.
Scott was also able to conduct many high-profile interviews during his career, including Tiger Woods and President Barack Obama to name a few.
Outside of work, Scott was married to Kimberly Scott from 1993-2007. They had two daughters that Scott cherished.
In 2007, things changed for Scott when cancerous tissue was found during an appendectomy.
Although he began treatments for the cancer, he remained on-air with the same passion and energy he had always been known for.
In 2010, Scott received the news that his cancer had returned and he continued to fight until he went into remission in 2012.
Unfortunately, was again diagnosed with cancer on January 13, 2013.
He was honored at the ESPYS on July 16, 2014 where he shared with the world that he had endured four surgeries in a week prior to his appearance, and that he was suffering from liver complications as well as kidney failure.
It was there that, in a harrowing statement, Scott told us, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”
Stuart Scott died on January 4, 2015. He was 49.
He leaves behind him a legacy of excellence in sports journalism, two beautiful daughters and an immeasurable family ranging from all he knew and all he touched by his work. He will be remembered and missed always.
And, although it is true that my own career interests have shifted, his character and his inspiration will continue to bless me and potential journalism students like myself each and every day.