Here’s my story on one of the good guys, Whittier football coach Walter Scott, who won the ABC7 NFL High School Coach of the Week award for the third time on Wednesday.
WHITTIER – Walter Scott is a legacy at Whittier High School.
He played there and for the past 23 years has been the Cardinals’ football coach. His dedication to the school and community is widely known, and Scott was rewarded for his work this week when he earned the ABC7 NFL High School Coach of the Week award.
It marked the third time he won the award, making him the fourth coach to be so honored. He received the award Wednesday.
The presentation will air Saturday on KABC’s Sportszone Show about 9:15 p.m.
“It’s all about these kids,” Scott said. “Whittier High School is a special place. Hopefully, (winning this award) puts them in that special category.
“Around here, it’s about the kids. Hopefully that translates to them, and it did. I’m kind of humbled that they chose me again. I was really surprised when they called. But because our season was so difficult last year, it was important that the same message was being sent, and that being those life skills that we are trying to give these kids.”
The message has been transmitted and received.
Whittier was winless in 2010 but has opened this season with three consecutive victories. It joined St. Paul as the area’s only undefeated teams.
Part of the change is another year of growth for many of the players, but also what Scott always taught them – to keep pushing forward.
“He’s a great coach,” quarterback Gio Hernandez said. “He’s great to play for.
He didn’t give up on us after last year. He’s always been here for us.
“He’s very positive all the time, about us just getting better and trying to improve.”
That commitment to his players, school and community has not gone unnoticed.
“Coach Scott always goes above and beyond for his students,” Whittier principal Lori Eshilian said. “He is not just a coach to his players. He is their mentor, a father figure and a positive role model on and off the field.”
On the field, the results also are being noticed.
The Cardinals, with Hernandez and a slew of running backs including Chris Velasco, Kevin Ramirez and Gerry Pantoja, along with solid line play, have turned around the frustration of last season to win their first three games. They have victories over Artesia (54-14), Pacifica (17-13) and Los Angeles Roosevelt (27-20).
“I think part of it is these kids are very competitive,” Scott said. “We had 18 sophomores on our team last year. We now have 10 juniors starting, so part of it is them maturing.
“But the other part is they made a real serious commitment. Losing buses don’t taste good. These kids have worked hard and that poise shows at the end of the game.”
The attention now is to keep the Cardinals moving forward, which begins with nonleague games against Paramount and Schurr before beginning Del Rio League play against La Serna on
“(The last two wins) were good football games,” Scott said. “What our players need to know is that for us to continue to be successful we have to get a little better each week. They’ve taken that responsibility right now, and that’s a good thing.”
This story is another reminder how sports like football prepare our youth for life’s battles and it the mentors like coach Scott, who give us the tools to succeed long after we graduate from high school. In that aspect, here’s a film clip that I think describes it best: