Alisa "Scotty" Scott is all smiles outside the SCC gym, June 4, 2009.
Basketball has taken Alisa “Scotty” Scott literally around the world and now it has taken her to Shoreline Community College as the new head women’s basketball coach.
“I love basketball,” Scott said Thursday, June 4, 2009. “I’m a lifer as a coach.”
As a player, Scott is in the Hall of Fame at the University of Mississippi, where she played for Basketball Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor. She became an assistant coach at Ole Miss followed by similar positions at University of Maryland and Old Dominion from 1992-98. She said her nickname came from her dorm mother at Ole Miss, playing off the “Star Trek” character’s name.
In 1998, Scott jumped to the professional ranks, joining the WNBA Houston Comets as an assistant. Scott was with Houston when the team won WNBA titles in 1998, ’99 and 2000. Scott left Houston to coach in Russia before coming to the WNBA’s Seattle Storm in 2008 as a scout. This past season, Scott coached at the private Overlake School in Redmond. In July, she’ll travel with Jamal Crawford’s Seattle Speed Elite AAU team to the AAU national tournament in Virginia in July.
“I’ve learned a lot from some of the best coaches and players in the world,” Scott said, clearly excited to apply those lessons from the head-coach role.
Athletic Director Doug Palmer said he’s pleased to have someone of Scott’s caliber leading the Shoreline Community College program. “Alisa brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience,” Palmer said. “I’m sure she’ll be a strong addition to the college.”
Scott said that while she adapts her coaching schemes to the athletes’ abilities, she does have certain things she likes.
“I prefer an up-tempo style,” Scott said. “You also have to be able to play half-court, be disciplined. I like continuity offense, getting some quick-hitters and some motion. But no matter what, I like to say there’s always some fight in the dog. We’ll always play hard.”
On defense, Scott said again she has preferences, but not to the detriment of the team.
“I like man-to-man, but not if it doesn’t fit the personnel,” she said, adding she’s seen teams who will continue to be beaten using one on one but then not make adjustments. “I won’t be afraid to change. Even when we play man-to-man, there’s a bit of zone to it, and a bit of man-to-man to our zone. Again, I like to say its 5 on 1 at all times.”
In 2008, Shoreline made another high-profile hire for the men’s coaching job, getting Butch Estes, who has NCAA Division 1 coaching experience. Scott said she’s excited to compare notes with Estes.
“At Old Dominion, we had a lot of support from the men’s side,” Scott said. “It’s great to have another opinion from a successful coach.”
Scott said that as a former player, she feels she’s a player’s coach.
“It’s important to be supportive of these players,” Scott said. “It’s like being a mom sometimes. It’s all about making good decisions. If you make good decision off the court, you’re more likely to make good decisions on the court.”
Taking over from interim coach Steve Eskridge, Scott acknowledges that she’s starting late in the recruiting game for next season, but that she’s going to work hard, along with leveraging her WNBA experience and connections
“I’m going to look at a lot of tape and I’m going to have to trust some people,” she said. On the WNBA side, her connections have already paid off with superstar Sheryl Swoopes among the half-dozen players who showed up Tuesday, June 2, for the first open gym session of the off-season. Sometimes called the Michael Jordan of the WNAB, Swoopes, who played for the Seattle Storm this past seson, was in the gym that day for shoot-arounds and pickup games.
“I imagine Sheryl will be participating in some more open gyms, probably along with some other WNBA players,” Scott said.