Sports have become the beneficiary of his presence because Bob Scott, without fear of contradiction, represents in toto what's overwhelmingly good with humanity. That he gave 45 years of his life to Johns Hopkins University and its athletic programs is sufficient testimonial to the kind of man he is and the eminently fair way he has played the game.
Hopkins has a legacy of great leadership -- even one of the seven Eisenhower boys grew up to be its president -- and Scott, in his own way, has been a man of extraordinary values. He's entering retirement as athletic director but will continue to be looked upon with dignity and respect, synonymous with the school and what it stands for as a symbol of scholarship and the proper emphasis it places on sports.
A capacity crowd turned out to pay tribute to Scott at the Hunt Valley Inn and a former football coach, John Bridgers, wondered if the attendance wasn't larger than his teams used to draw for a Saturday afternoon game with the likes of Haverford, Swarthmore or Franklin & Marshall. The record shows Scott has been an extraordinary performer for Hopkins as an athlete, coach and athletic director.
He'll retain the old school ties since he'll be working with one of his former players, Jerry Schnydman, the director of alumni relations, in an effort to maintain a special continuity with the past and the present. It's only appropriate and also "down home good sense" for Hopkins to recognize the identity the Scott name brings with it.
"As I look back," he said, "I can't get away from the fact of how fortunate I have been. It's as if God smiled on me and made so many wonderful things happen."
To hear Scott talk about what has been going on at Hopkins for the last four decades makes a listener feel that he had absolutely nothing to do with any of the good things that happened.
He's offering lavish praise to Marshall Turner, a previous athletic director who made him head coach of lacrosse; to his first three assistants -- Bill Logan, Kelso Morrill and Fred Smith -- all with head coaching experience; to another aide, Wilson "Chick" Fewster, who later came back to help; and to the man who succeeded him in lacrosse, Henry Ciccarone.
The humility of Scott certainly becomes him. It ought to become an epidemic. "Now take Wilson Fewster," he was saying. "One of the best of all coaches, extremely accomplished. And Henry Ciccarone was superb in every way, just what a coach should be in knowing the game and instantly realizing what had to be done under pressure of a game situation."
Then Scott began discussing Art "Bull" Simons, a remarkable officer he served under in the Army Rangers' swamp training program held at Eglin (Fla.) Air Force Base: "He was absolutely the most inspirational man I have ever been around. At the time, he was a major but, more importantly, distinguished himself in every crisis our country has faced since World War II. He led the raid, you'll remember, to get those prisoners out of Vietnam and then went to Iran to help there."
What did Scott's Army preparation do for his coaching? "I don't know how much it helped me as a coach but when I came back to Hopkins for my first year, a rookie, I realized I had a lot to learn," he said. "But one thing I was aware of about myself is I was going to be the boss, regardless of whether there was success or failure."
As an only child, Scott grew up in a Forest Park rowhouse, the son of an English father, S. Warren Scott, and a Jewish mother, the former Edith Tucker.
"My parents had a strong influence on me," he said. "It was my mother who looked at me as a young boy and said I had the hands of a doctor. That's what she wanted me to be, but what I hoped was a career as a high school coach."
But that didn't happen. He started off at a higher entry level, in college, at Hopkins, the most pressurized job in lacrosse, after Turner was perceptive enough to appoint Scott while he still had another year to serve in the Army. Coming to Hopkins meant he also had to coach freshman football and help in other sports but his enthusiasm never waned.
"Without the slightest reservation I can tell you I had as much interest in how the frosh football team was doing as varsity lacrosse," Scott said. "Maybe I was naive, or something, but that's how I felt."
It was his hope to go to Western Maryland and play football but in the immediate years after World War II there was no chance Scott, a 138-pound end, could have been a starter.
"The coach, Charley Havens, patted me on the shoulder and was kind," he said. "I wanted to go there because many of his good players -- like Al Paul, Julian Dyke, Stan Fieldman and Al Jacobsen -- had graduated from Forest Park High School and gone to Western Maryland."
Having the chance to put up the longevity record in athletics at Hopkins -- no man or woman has given 45 years of service to the university -- means he was aware of the school's attitude that sports must be subservient to scholarship. "We were like any other department," he explained. "We submitted our budget, it was reviewed by the administration and we were told what our operating funds would be.
"I believe our Division III crowd in the NCAA has a sensible approach to sports. When big money comes in to the bigger JTC programs it makes for problems. That, of course, is when you're involved in the big-time aspect."
Bob Scott, endowed with intelligence and a calming influence when a decision has to be made, is a credit to himself, his family, to Hopkins and to all areas of sports. He's a gem. What adds even more allure to such an appraisal is the fact he doesn't know it.