Scruggs was a member of the Wittenberg men’s basketball team for one year, appearing in three varsity games for a total of nine minutes during the 2002-03 season. Reassessing things after the season, Scruggs chose a different path, concentrating on his schoolwork as a political science major and urban studies minor, his work as a resident assistant and his interest in student government.
Fast forward to 2006, and Scruggs is back on the basketball court, more than ever before. Only this time, Scruggs has been a coach.
It started as a sophomore during his university-required community service hours. Scruggs volunteered as a middle school girls’ basketball coach at nearby Roosevelt Elementary School, helping the team to unprecedented success.
That led to an offer to coach an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) girls’ basketball team affiliated with the Dayton Lady Hoopstars in 2004. After drafting Nate Cherry of Toledo, Ohio, class of 2006, to be his assistant, Scruggs molded a group of 15-year-olds into a successful team that played in seven tournaments over the summer months, including the AAU national championships in North Carolina.
In 2005, Scruggs and Cherry added four more tournaments to the team’s busy summer schedule, this time including the national tournament in Florida. While Scruggs and Cherry earned small paychecks for their AAU coaching, Scruggs says they did it primarily for the love of the game.
But he took much more away from the experience.
“I’ve learned a lot about responsibility,” said Scruggs, who is the 2005-2006 Student Senate president. “I had to find tournaments, send in forms, get medical waivers, things like that. I learned a lot about how to be organized and how to deal with a variety of different people.”
The Dayton Lady Hoopstars team Scruggs coached included players from all over the Miami Valley, some from as far away as Cincinnati. Most practices were held at Wittenberg, and Scruggs entered the AAU team into the annual summer high school team camp hosted by Women’s Basketball Coach Pam Smith.
After two successful summer AAU seasons, Scruggs wasn’t looking for another coaching “job,” but one found him anyway. Despite his busy life as a college student, Scruggs is a varsity assistant coach for the girls’ basketball team at Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio, for the 2005-06 season. Chaminade-Julienne, which won a state championship a year ago, has had a rebuilding season this year, but Scruggs remains confident that the team is capable of making another postseason run this year.
The draw for the sectional tournament was recently released and Chaminade-Julienne fit in as the No. 5 seed of a bracket that will play games at Troy in late February. Chaminade-Julienne, which has a 9-8 record heading into Saturday’s huge game at University of Dayton Arena against arch-rival Kettering Alter, will face the winner of a New Carlisle Tecumseh/Vandalia Butler first-round game.
No matter when the high school season comes to an end, Scruggs said he has learned a great deal from the experience. He has been involved in all aspects of the game – including game planning, film review, scouting and practices.
Scruggs is already signed on to coach AAU basketball again in 2006, this time taking on the tall task of coaching an 11-year-old team, and he has standing offers to coach high school basketball in the future. While Scruggs, who is applying for law schools currently, is unsure exactly what awaits him after he graduates from Wittenberg, he knows that his college experience would not have been the same without his unexpected turn as a girls’ basketball coach.
“I’ve always been interested in coaching, and these experiences have confirmed that,” Scruggs said. “I want to be the president of the United States, I want to be a lawyer, and I want to be a coach – pretty much in that order.
“The coaching all happened kind of unintentionally, but I have just kind of gone with it and things have worked out.”
- Ryan Maurer
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