Steve Scott - American Miler Extrodinaire - A Role Model for the Future...
SI recently reported on the epidemic decline in the number and quality of individual sport stars presently representing the United States. Even though sport fans are well aware of some outstanding performers, on reflection this apparent state of affairs is alarming. The only way to combat this demise is to reexamine the qualities of our former champions to understand how future aspiring American individual athletes can adopt their greatness. In looking back to the great individual performers of generations past, no luminary is more representative of what we should revert back to than super USA miler Steve Scott.
A product of the end of the ‘golden era’ of American middle distance running when we had, for instance, a major indoor meet and a feature mile each week-end, USA Track & Field recently induced Steve Scott into their initial Hall of Fame. The United States Sports Academy reaffirms the decision of this induction and points out some of reasons it was such a wise choice.
It was my privilege as a national championship coach at Life University in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) to get to know the wonderful former world-renowned athlete and now coach Steve Scott of the College of San Marcos in California. As a demonstration of Steve’s phenomenal character and personality the day before the national cross country Steve ran the entire course at full speed to the delight of the observing coaches and runners. His time would have put him near the front of the pack on the next day’s competition. At 46, Steve still possesses the same wonderful form that brought him an American record in the mile and the reputation as an upstanding individualists with qualities of spirit and determination reminiscent of, it seems, days of yore. Frank Deford, of Sports Illustrated recently pointed out in his weekly public radio address that Scott’s American record for the mile run is 20 years old. He went on to state that this is reflective of the trends of today’s young people who are more likely to join team sports where the money may be more lucrative and you don’t have to depend on the once American virtues of self-reliance and independence.
In an exclusive interview with the United States Sports Academy Sport Supplement editor Mike Spino, Coach Scott spoke from his post at Cal State at San Marcos. Steve Scott began the interview by reflecting on the different attitude athletes from his generation had towards individual sports. In his discipline, middle distance running, Scott noted that “there are not as many middle distance heroes for the public to see, and when we ran we were among the best in the world. This brought excitement to our competitions and many more meets were held throughout the United States.” In terms of the shift from individual to team sports, Steve Scott points to the “explosion of youth soccer in our culture. A lot of kids now would rather play with a ball and have a team around them then go out and run a solo five miler.” It was a pleasure to have an opportunity to speak on the phone to Steve Scott as his enthusiasm and passion for life is so apparent. This quality of commitment and passion seems to be missing in many of our current athletes.
The Track and Field Hall of fame honoring the nation’s finest track and field athletes, coaches and contributors through exhibits and an Interactive Learning Center is being constructed in the New York City Armory. Understandably, Steve Scott was one of the first inductees. As USA Track & Field stats are reflective of Master miler Scott’s brilliant career. Born May 5, 1956, Steve Scott is considered to be one of the greatest milers in history. He won the US men’s 1,500-meter title six times and the U.S. indoor mile crown four times. He is perhaps best known for having run 136 sub-4 minute miles in his career, more than any other athlete in the world. Track & Field News ranked Scott 31 in the U.S. on 10 occasions, and 11 times during his career he was ranked in the top ten in the world by T&FN. The NCAA 1,500 champion as a senior at the University of California-Irvine in 1978, Scott went on to win the 1980 Olympic Trials, but did not compete at the Olympics in Moscow due to the U.S. boycott of the Games. Scott competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics finishing 10th and 5th respectfully. Scott owns the U.S. Outdoor mile record of 3:47.69 (1982) and the US indoor record in the mile at (3:51.8-1981) and 2000 meters (4:58.6-1981).(end of box)
The United States Sports Academy gives tribute to the great Steve Scott for his athletic talent and now his contribution to the world of coaching. If Sports Illustrated is correct and the era of the American sport individualist is waning, we look to Steve Scott as the role model of what can and should be the ambitions of future USA individual athletes.