Where Are They Now: Scott Padgett
via Samford Sports
What are you up to now?
I coach Samford University now, in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a school in the Southern Conference, a Division I school, and you know, just, it’s kinda funny how things go. I always wanted to be a coach coming out of high school, and my dream growing up — we didn’t have the NBA in Louisville in the state of Kentucky, so my dream growing up was to play at Kentucky and I always knew when I got done playing basketball, I wanted to go be a coach.
And I tell everybody I was lucky enough to be sidetracked by the NBA for a — years, which also allowed me, a lot of things that help me in today is being coached by hall of famers and great guy–you know, hall of famer like Jerry Sloan, and then played for Jeff Van Gundy and Lawrence Frank and some different guys. So, I got to learn a lot more basketball that I can then now pass on to the guys.
But I’ve always kinda wanted to be a coach. I kinda got mesmerized, growing up, on Rick Pitino and thought, you know, he was the coolest person in the world growing up as a kid, and kinda wanted to be a coach.
And you know, I took about a two-year hiatus where I was actually doing sports radio for about two years in Louisville, and then when John Calipari got the job at Kentucky, I was on his first staff as a special assistant to him. They got, that kind of got my foot in the door for college coaching, and been in it since for the last seven, eight years here.
What was it like joining that Jazz team in 1999?
Well, I think initially you’re kinda in awe. I mean, it’s kinda funny. I was, when I was nine years old, I, it was the first time I made, like, an all-star team. You know, and everybody’s fighting over numbers and everything, and you know, obviously a lot of people wanted 23. And my pi–I actually picked 32 because I liked Karl Malone.
Karl Malone was in the NBA when I was nine years old, you know, and now all of a sudden I’m 23, you know, year-old rookie, and I’m, my locker’s next to his, you know? And I, you’re kinda in awe. But you know, once you get there and you get through that, learn s–I learned so much obviously from Jerry and his staff. Gordie — Gordon Chiesa, Kenny Natt, Phil Johnson. They were a phenomenal staff.
But you learn so much just seeing [John] Stockton and Malone out on the floor every night, of, you know, just how to play the game; the right way to handle yourself, like off the court and on the, you know, on the court. You know, wor–you know, hard work and work ethic and things like that.
Just, it was a, it’s one of those things, like, as a 40-year-old coach right now, I probably appreciate my time with Utah 10 times more than I did when I was there, and realize I probably should have appreciated it even more.
You know, how lucky I was to be a part of that group and get to play under that coach and then, and you know, and with those guys, to get four years with them, because the knowledge that I learned there, it’s things that I’m still teaching right now to guys.
Any good Malone or Stockton stories from your rookie year?
You know what, I, what I will say is, probably the best friend as far as how they treated me, helped me out along the way — and I had a lot of guys I was close with over time, but the person who did more for me during my time and the career, and they might not even realize it, is Karl Malone.
When I came in Day 1, and I feel bad for him, but Quincy Lewis and I came in at the same time. And the first day of camp, Karl basically said — and he would call me “Scotteh Peh” — you know, he had that accent, and he would call me Scotty P. And he basically said, he, I’m his rookie, and Quincy, you got the rest of the team. So, I had to do stuff for Karl and Quincy had to do stuff for the rest of the team.
And you know, we got to be really, really close and the best thing probably that ever happened in my career is, after two years I’m really not playing much and just trying to figure out a way to get, you know, to get on the floor consistently.
And Karl took me and said, “Hey, listen. You come work out with me [during this] off-season.” And, you know, “If Coach sees that you worked out with me and the work that you put into it, he’s gonna understand how much it means to you, how hard that you had to work and everything, and it’ll mean something to him.”
And it did. And I got my opportunity, and because I’d worked out with him and learned some stuff from him, when I got my opportunity I was able to make the most of it and stay in the rotation for the rest of my time there.
But Karl was that guy, like, he could’ve — obviously I wasn’t a threat to him because he was Karl Malone and I was, you know, eighth or ninth man, but he could’ve looked at it and said, you know, this is just some other young guy that’s gonna be in and out of here and I’m gonna keep moving on. But he kinda took me under his wing and really, really helped me out.
And you know, it’s one of those things I — who knows? If he didn’t call me in and have me do that before my third year, maybe my third year’s my last year in the league. I was able to get another, you know, six years because of that. I got eight years in the league, and it started really with that time going to work out with him, ’cause it could’ve ended that year. (KALL)