Great Scot! Or Is It, “Great, Scot!”?

By Mark Fleming and Judith Green

There are head coaches and then there are head coaches.

Scot Dapp, head football coach at Moravian, is also head of the American Football Coaches Association.

A regular attendee at AFCA conferences for 20 years and a member of the AFCA board of trustees since 1999, Scot was named president at the organization’s annual convention, January 8-12 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Scot is the first coach from an NCAA Division III school to become president since 1994 and only the fifth president ever from Division III. (The others were from Amherst College, 1982; Wittenberg University, 1984; Widener University, 1991; Central College, Iowa, 1994.). “I think it is great,” says Chuck Amato, head coach at North Carolina State University, about a Division III president of the AFCA. Amato, who is a member of the AFCA board of trustees, has known Scot for 15 years and thinks he will be an outstanding leader of the organization.

The AFCA was founded in 1922 by legendary coaches Amos Alonzo Stagg and John Heisman (for whom the crown of college trophies is named). It has more than 10,000 members from all levels of the profession, from Big 10 to high school—“too many for all but the biggest cities and their convention centers,” Scot says. Its past presidents are a “Who’s Who of the major colleges”: Woody Hayes, “Bear” Bryant, Ara Parseghian.

The names from Division II and III aren’t as well known, but they represent athletic establishments that are just as serious about their players and the issues that affect them. This season, the AFCA continues to deal with preseason training and conditioning, especially after the prominent and well-publicized deaths of two young players.

Scot has been dealing with this challenge for a while, trying to balance a fit and feisty team with a regimen that won’t rip apart its players. It’s possible that as a coach at a small liberal arts college, where football is an activity rather than an industry, he understands the problem up close in a way that the coach of a football giant might not until it’s too late.

“It’s not like I have the power to initiate major changes in the rules,” Scot says, “but I’ve been writing a lot of preseason letters.”

His exact duties as president? Well, he grumbles, “One of the non-perks is that you gotta run around to all these meetings. I’m not a coat and tie kind of guy. I used to take a sport coat and a tie. Now I take three sport coats and two ties.”

In 18 seasons at Moravian, Scot has a career record of 110-74-1. His first 11 years at Moravian (1987-98) produced 11 consecutive winning seasons—the longest streak in school history. And his tenure has been the most successful period in the chronicles of Moravian football. Under his leadership, the Greyhounds have made two trips to the NCAA playoffs and won a Middle Atlantic Conference championship in 1988 and a Commonwealth Division title in 1993. He’s been named Coach of the Year three times by the MAC and has earned a string of other titles and awards.

He credits a lot of those honors to the students he’s coached and taught (he is a professor of physical education as well) in those years. “I was a phys. ed. major,” he says, “and I wouldn’t have been if I didn’t feel it was important.

“But you come to a place like Moravian because you want to be a good student,” he continues. “In a Division III school, athletics are going to be part of what you do. Here we all have an opportunity to be a positive influence on a kid.”

"We want to win games. That’s why there’s a scoreboard: so you know you’ve
accomplished that. But what we really do is try to make the individual players
better. Isn’t that what a professor is supposed to be doing?"

"One of my players is Chip Hall, a lifer in the Marine Corps. He was in Desert Storm. And he sent me a letter saying that the things he did in football helped him lead his battalion. I appreciated that letter. Some of these guys don’t even know what they learned until much later in life."