Life out of football didn’t work for Brian Scott, even in a warm paradise like San Diego.

“I did it for a year, and realized it wasn’t for me,” Scott said. “The best thing I did was get out of football, because it helped me realize how important it is to me.”

Scott was on the phone from Tampa, Florida, where he was on a recruiting trip for Old Dominion University. A Waterville native, Scott is the Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator for the Monarchs and head coach Bobby Wilder, himself a Madison native.

This week, ODU accepted an invitation to play in the Bahamas Bowl against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 23. The game will air live at 1 p.m. on ESPN. The bowl bid is the latest step in the growth of a football program Scott has helped Wilder build from scratch over the last decade.

“We were picked to finish near the bottom of our league (Conference USA). The kids were ticked about it,” Scott said. “It says a lot about our kids’ resiliency. We’ve had a great season. The Bahamas Bowl is icing on the cake.”

Last month, Scott was a nominee for the Broyles Award, given annually to the top assistant coach in Division I college football. Under Scott’s guidance this season, the Monarchs average 36 points and 433.9 yards per game. ODU is second in Conference USA in rushing yards, 196.1 per game. Scott’s offense is a big reason the Monarchs are 9-3, 7-1 in conference play, and heading to their first bowl game.

“I’m not really into individual awards,” Scott said about the Broyles nomination. “We’ve had a good offense since we started here. It’s more of a team thing.

Wilder and Scott have a relationship that goes back 20 years, to Scott’s playing days as a quarterback at the University of Maine. Scott is still 14th all-time in passing yards for the Black Bears.

“He was my quarterbacks coach, my offensive coordinator. We’ve been together a long time,” Scott said. “He gives me a lot of freedom, scheme-wise. He let’s me do my job.”

A year removed from the end of his University of Maine playing days, Scott left his job with Enterprise in Southern California and came home to Maine, where he began the climb all college football coaches make. The Waterville native started as an assistant coach at Cony High School, before moving on to UMass-Lowell, where he coached quarterbacks. There was a year at Tennessee-Martin before three years back in Orono, working with Wilder, then the Black Bears’ offensive coordinator. When Wilder left for Virginia to start construction on ODU’s fledgling football program, he brought Scott along.

Scott helped Wilder transform the Monarchs first from an idea to a contender for the Colonial Athletic Association title and a Football Championship Subdivision playoff team, then to a Football Bowl Subdivision team, and now to a team that can contend for its conference championship.

When talking to recruits, Scott doesn’t have the luxury of decades of football tradition upon which to build his sales pitch. Scott needs to find athletes more interested in building a tradition, not being absorbed by it.

“That’s what it’s been, selling a dream. You have to want to be a kid who makes history,” Scott said. “This bowl game is huge for us. We’ll be on national TV. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but this is a big step for us.”

With the success he’s had as an offensive coordinator, would Scott like to be a head coach, build his own program like his mentor Wilder? Sure, but it would have to be the right situation. Scott doesn’t see himself leaving ODU for the sake of something different.

“I love my job. This is a dream job. There’s only 128 offensive coordinators at the Division I level,” Scott said. “I’m not one of those guys who always thinks the grass is greener someplace else.”

With his recruiting trip to Florida almost complete, Scott was getting ready to head home to Norfolk, Virginia and begin working on a game plan for the Bahamas Bowl.

It’s a life in football, and for that, Scott is thankful.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM