Replacing a coach that has been here for 40 years would be difficult for anybody, but new Men’s Soccer Head Coach Rick Scott brings confidence and experience to the program.
“That doesn’t phase me in the least,” Scott said of following a career like former head coach Keith Butcher’s. “I coached a very successful high school program for eleven years before I got here. I’m around the game all the time, as a player, as a coach. I don’t feel intimidated at all.”
Scott was referring to his time as men’s soccer head coach at Keene High School. Under Scott’s reign, KHS won two state championships and produced so many all Americans that he’s lost count. Combine that with a four-year KSC playing career and Scott’s long stint as Butcher’s assistant and you have someone who has devoted his life to the game.
“He knows how things run here. He’s got a pretty solid foundation and even though he wants to make a name for himself, he already has a reputation around here and with other coaches,” senior Scott Douglas said. “So he’s more comfortable instead of being at an all new school.”
Director of Athletics John Ratliff never opened the position up for outsiders to apply. Scott, who graduated KSC in 1977, said Butcher supported him for the position. The hiring process consisted of just two interviews before Scott got the job offer in late November.
“He’s been handling it well, I think he still refers to Butcher for guidance if he’s unsure, but for the most part I think he’s taken over the team to be his team with his style,” senior Brian Swindell said.
Swindell described that style as more “modern” than Butcher’s, and Scott agreed that his style was distinct.
“I study the game extensively in a lot different ways [than Butcher],” Scott said. “So I’m open to different methods, different systems and different styles.”
Studying the game has brought Scott all over the world — from South America to the estimated 40 trips to Europe he said he has taken. “He gave little bits and pieces of the modern style to Butch [while assistant], he’s a big European style influence,” Swindell said. “Butch is a lot of the American style and Rick adds elements of European style soccer.”
Scott’s approach to dealing with players is also different from Butcher’s.
“Coach Scott really helped balance out coach Butcher,” Douglas said. “If Butch got mad at me I could go to Rick [Scott] and vice versa, but [Scott’s] always a calming and reasonable coach to talk to.”
But while Scott said the culture of the team has changed, he said the offseason workouts and recruiting transitions have gone smoothly. The coaching staff will also remain largely unchanged under Scott.
“The attitude of the team has been very good, we’ve had some hard working sessions in the spring already,” Scott said.
“For me, they need to get a better understanding of what hard work is — we’re getting there. They need to get a better understanding of what commitments is, were getting there too.”
Scott said one of the main goals of the year is to win the Little East Conference, something the usually-dominant team hasn’t done in three years. Swindell has confidence in the direction of the program.
“I think Rick is going to take this team to high levels,” Swindell said. “I think they’re definitely going to do as well if not better than us next year. He’s going to bring in more talent.”
Scott offered a more modest but equally confident prediction.
“I think we’re going to provide a pretty exciting brand of soccer,” Scott said, “If we work hard we’ll be very competitive, and we’re going to look to provide an attacking brand of soccer, getting the ball forward and just going for it. I’m excited.”
Zach Winn can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org