In his mind, Dr. Edward Scott knew it would take something special for him to leave Morgan State as its athletic director for more than five years.
That chance came late last year when Carla Williams, the athletic director at Virginia, inquired about his availability. Scott will begin Feb. 1 with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Cavaliers as a deputy athletic director.
“I hadn’t really been looking,” Scott, 42, said Wednesday afternoon from Indianapolis where he is attending the NCAA Convention. “I’ve had a few opportunities to leave Morgan in the last couple years, but declined. But when Carla and I started speaking about this opportunity, it was just one that I felt I couldn’t pass up from a career standpoint. So it wasn’t something that I was necessarily looking for, but when it did come across my plate, I felt it was something that was an amazing opportunity.”
Morgan State president Dr. David Wilson called Scott’s decision “a bittersweet moment.”
“He has led a true transformation of the athletics department at Morgan,” Wilson said Thursday afternoon. “Our athletics department has emerged as a model within the NCAA for how you can really lead change and manage change and put an institution in a position where the student-athletes are thriving academically and also in terms of athletic competition. So he has created a completely different mindset for the department. He has taken a concept called ‘The Morgan Way’ and has turned it into the most positive phrase almost in the history of Morgan. He’s a remarkable leader, and he understands the value of teamwork. His leadership is magnetic. He invites people in as a leader as opposed to a persona that pushes people away. So this is a tough position to fill after Ed because he certainly has set a standard that as president I refuse to back away from.”
Scott’s move was applauded by peers within and outside the university.
Kevin Broadus, who was hired away from Maryland by Scott on May 1, 2019, to succeed Todd Bozeman as the men’s basketball coach, congratulated his friend, but also lamented his impending departure.
“He was the reason I came to Morgan,” said Broadus, who was the head coach at Binghamton for two seasons from 2007 to 2009 when Scott was the senior associate athletic director and divisional diversity officer. “I had no connection other than him. We worked together at Binghamton and built a friendship. He’s the little brother to me. It really hurts.”
In his new role, Scott will assist Williams, the first Black woman in the Power Five conferences to be an athletic director, and Jim Booz, the deputy athletic director for administration, with football. Scott will also have direct oversight of men’s basketball, baseball (the sport he played at Albany and for which he is a member of the NCAA selection committee), and track and field. He will also coordinate sports medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports psychology, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Scott will join an athletics department at Virginia that fields 27 sports and 700 athletes, which dwarfs the 14 programs and nearly 300 athletes at Morgan State. He credited his experience with the Bears for convincing Williams to ask him to undertake the workload.
“I think my experience as athletic director for five years provided Carla with a level of comfort in my ability to oversee large operations,” he said.
Since being hired on Oct. 9, 2016, Scott ushered Morgan State through an NCAA penalty period over a lack of institutional control that included improperly certifying the eligibility of 94 athletes in 10 sports and improperly providing financial aid to athletes in nine sports. The probationary phase of the penalty period, which included one-year postseason bans for football, tennis and softball, reduced scholarships in the 10 sports, and recruiting restrictions, ended Dec. 18.
Under Scott, the Bears athletic department raised its collective GPA to a new high of 3.41, increased the graduate rate by 19% and was gifted with a $2.7 million donation – the largest in university history and the biggest private donation to a Historically Black College and University’s athletic department – to re-launch its wrestling program.
“The one thing I wish we could have done was win a few more championships,” Scott said. “But I think with the coaching staffs that we have, Morgan is well-positioned to do that. So I feel certain that I’m leaving Morgan in a much better place than I found it, and that was crucial to me in making the decision to join UVA and leave Morgan.”
Scott called leaving the Bears “one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make in my career.”
“To be perfectly candid, I really enjoyed my time at Morgan – the way the community, the institution, the department supported my vision, the way they embraced my wife and my daughter and my family,” he said. “And equally as important – if not more important than anything – was my relationship with [university president] Dr. [David] Wilson. Our alignment as an athletic director and president was as good as any I’ve ever seen. So leaving Dr. Wilson and Morgan was going to take something special for me. So this was not an easy decision for me at all.”
Scott said senior associate AD/senior woman administrator Erlease Wagner will serve to lead Morgan State in the interim, and he nominated Wagner, senior associate athletic director in charge of external relations and development Lydell Sargeant, and senior associate athletic director Terrence Lollie for the permanent role.
Wilson said he has already received inquiries about the vacancy.
“I’m not sure I would have gotten those inquiries if Ed had not done what he did with the department over the last five years,” Wilson said. “So I think it will be easier to recruit a successor with the kind of pedigree that he has than it would have been had I not hired him initially.”
Broadus said whoever succeeds Scott will have to be as diversified as the latter was.
“He circles the whole thing,” Broadus said. “He’s a numbers guy, a money guy, a championships guy. He circles the whole gamut. He wants to do it all. That’s what makes him an up-and-coming athletic director, and I think he’s a star. He has his imprint on all of them, not just one. He talks about winning, he talks about the money we have to bring in, he talks about the academics that are involved because that was his background. He was my academics guy at Binghamton. That’s why I think he’s going to be a star. Virginia’s getting a star, but I don’t think they’re going to get him for long.”