Each time the University of Richmond football team took the field this season, the man who assembled it was absent.
Instead of leading the team during an injury-filled 3-8 season, he watched or listened to the games on the radio.
"I felt like I should have been there," said Latrell Scott, the former UR coach who resigned 10 days before the start of the season after getting arrested for a DWI. "I don't think the record would have been any different, because I think under the circumstances, [interim] coach [Wayne] Lineburg did a hell of a job with the hand he was dealt.
"But it was extremely tough [to watch] because I put a lot of hours into that thing and obviously, it's a 10-minute decision that cost me a lifetime."
That decision was to drive drunk on Aug. 22, and the subsequent arrest was his second for a DWI in a 5-10 year span. The previous time was back in 2004, when he was an assistant coach for Virginia Military Institute.
Why Scott decided to drive that night is unknown. He declined to talk about that night, instead saying that was in his past. What are known though are the ramifications that night had on him.
He was sentenced to 10 days in jail - the mandatory minimum for a repeat offender -- earlier this month by a Henrico County judge. He lost his license for three years and paid a $500 fine.
He also decided to resign as coach of the football team, something that he said was the right thing to do.
"My parents raised me to accept consequences when you're at fault and I don't think I could stand in front of the staff and those kids and be their coach after I made such a big mistake," Scott said by phone Tuesday. "I let a lot of people down. It may not have been the best business decision, but at the end of the day, when I'm 65 years old, I'll feel good."
At a press conference the day of Scott's resignation, Richmond Athletic Director Jim Miller explained the process of agreeing to Scott's resignation.
"I think the most important thing we decided was: What is the right thing to do now going forward?," Miller said. "And the decision was to accept his resignation."
At the time, Scott had yet to talk to his players. He did get the opportunity to speak to them later, and said that it was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
"I think when you have a group of people that believe in you the way the staff and the kids do, it was disappointing," Scott said. "...It was something I felt I needed to talk to those guys about face-to-face and answer any of those questions they felt they needed to ask."
The communication with the players did not end with that talk. Although Scott avoided talking to the media while the team was playing, he said that he would talk with the players weekly.
Those conversations were about anything and everything except for one thing: the performance of the team, Scott said. He said that his conversations with the players would never be about their play on the field or a critique of Lineburg, who was in his first season as a head coach.
Besides hearing from players, Scott said that he also heard from a number of other people associated from the school; a support base he described as amazing.
"I've received an extreme amount of support from people that you would never think would support me," Scott said. "Everybody at Richmond has been great. There are a lot of people, of course the first thing they say is, 'Hey, we're disappointed in you, we're upset with you but we support you.' ... All those things really helped. It really did help in those tough times."
The emails and support were not the only thing that Scott said gave him comfort while waiting for the outcome of his case. He said that he had gotten involved in helping to coach a local youth football team, something he said he did upon request of a child in his neighborhood.
"He came up and said, 'Coach, since you're not working anymore, can you come up and help us?' He really didn't know the magnitude of it but it gave me a chance to go and hang out and just do something fun," Scott said.
"And it really helped me I'm sure a hell of a lot more than I helped those kids, just being around football."
Scott also went to Casselton Consultants, Inc., to get alcohol-abuse counseling. At Scott's Nov. 11 hearing, one of the counselors, Tom Cassleton, testified on behalf of Scott.
The overriding goal of counseling was to get into position to move on from the arrest, Scott said.
Scott said that he hoped to get back to coaching in college again soon. Chances are he won't be a head coach right away again, but he said he would be willing to work in any position.
"I don't expect to be the head coach at the university of whatever," Scott said. "Obviously, I've got to start over and do some things to prove to people some things.
"Obviously, I was worthy of being a head coach at 34 [years old] so hopefully someone will understand I screwed up and it was an out-of-character thing and give me an opportunity.
"Football is what I do. I'm good at it, so I look forward to getting back to it."
When asked what he would say to an athletic director about why he should get a third chance, Scott said he didn't know.
"I think someone's just going to look at it and say those are two isolated incidents seven years apart and somebody's going to be willing to give me another chance," Scott said. "Whoever that may be, I'm going to have to take that opportunity."
Scott said that his preference was to coach in college again, but he won't limit himself to that. As long as he is involved with football, Scott said he would be happy.
Whenever and wherever that opportunity does come, Scott is sure to hear some doubters. But Scott said that he wouldn't let the criticism faze him.
"People are going to say what they want to say," Scott said. "Everybody has a thought on who they think I am and think what problems I have and all this and all that, but I screwed something up and I owned up to it.
"Hopefully, at the end of the day, that's what people will look at me as."
Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support independent student media
You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.Donate Now