MILTON, Ga. — “A man never stands so tall or straight when he stoops to help the youth of a community,” Milton High School head coach Howie DeCristofaro said about coach Mike Scott.
Scott succumbed to pancreatic cancer Saturday, Dec. 1.
“Mike wasn’t like other people,” said Todd Perry, a close friend of Scott. “He was special.”
Perry became emotional while talking about his friend.
“Mike had a passion for football, but his true passion was for the boys,” he said. “He taught these kids that football prepares you for life, for dealing with the challenges it brings.”
Scott, known to most as Big Show because of his booming size and personality, played college football for only a short time.
“He had a heart problem and didn’t pass his physical the year he was set to play in the starting line up,” Perry said.
Perry said that while Scott’s heart wasn’t strong enough to play the sport, it was too strong to walk away from it entirely.
“He ended up being a student coach for the team,” he said. “And that’s where he found his passion for coaching.”
Scott’s coaching career included Trinity University in Texas, the University of Central Florida, the University of West Georgia, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of West Alabama and Milton High School.
“Mike was more than just a coach,” Milton Athletic Director Gary Sylvestri said. “He taught PE and health and had contact with every kid in this school. They loved him.”
Sylvestri also said there is a memorial board in the Milton weight room with notes to Scott.
“His life touched everyone,” he said. “There are more notes up there from female students than male.”
The notes will be put in a memorial box and given to the family.
“Mike put his heart into everything he did,” Sylvestri said. “He never said no to anyone, and even though he had this big, tough guy presence, the kids saw through it, and they respected him.”
Carrie Smith started a fundraising page on Giveforward.com for Scott’s family, hoping to raise money to help with medical costs.
“I got excited when we hit the $2,000 mark,” she said. “I’d hoped to raise maybe $10,000 but we’re over $50,000 now and it’s unbelievable.”
Smith said local businesses provided products and services for fundraising.
“We’ve received cash donations from both people and businesses,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see so many people coming out to support Mike and his family.”
Perry said schools in the area have raised money for the Scott family.
“Our biggest competitor raised money at our game,” he said. “The community is really pulling together to support Mike and his family.”
To donate to the family, go to www.giveforward.com/miracleformike.
Scott is survived by his wife of nearly eight years, Mary Jane Bray Scott; daughter, Abigail Scott; and son, Anthony Michael Scott, all of Canton; father, Waller Massie Scott Jr. of West Chester, Ohio; and sister, Debbie Scott Harrison of Nicholasville, Ky.