Via Twitter @BigBroDorian
“Trying to keep positive energy in my universe!!”
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Dorian Scott’s universe is a little larger these days, and it is filled with positivity.
The six-year veteran of the Florida State track & field coaching staff – the programs’ longest-tenured assistant – Scott was promoted to Director of Field Events by head coach Bob Braman prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.
Having already established himself as an elite throws coach and recruiter, Scott, a former All-American for the Noles, was the logical choice to succeed Dennis Nobles, who retired after 31 seasons of unparalleled success.
“Dorian has done a great job for us,” Braman said. “He was the natural choice to take over for Coach Nobles as Director of Field Events. He is not only a fantastic coach of throws, but he’s an outstanding recruiter who has landed elite recruits in virtually all event areas.”
Scott has played no small role in assembling a core group of throwers and jumpers who were instrumental in delivering the Noles a sweep of the ACC Indoor men’s and women’s titles in February, and are largely responsible for their current No. 7 and No. 20 national rankings.
The Seminoles open a busy and wide-spread weekend of action Thursday in Philadelphia, Pa. with the throws group taking center stage on the opening day of the 124th Penn Relays at Franklin Field. The championship section of the women’s shot put, including Gleneve Grange and Ieva Zarankaite, get things started at 11:30 a.m.
FSU’s sprinters and jumpers travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for the inaugural National Relays Championships, set for Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, a small women’s distance contingent travels to Jacksonville, Fla. for Friday’s UNF Invitational.
While the throws group has been his domain since arriving in 2013 following a one-year stint at San Diego State, Scott was the lead recruiter on the vast majority of jumpers who previously fell under Nobles’ direction and are now guided by first-year jumps coach Keith Herston. Collectively, the men’s field events crew produced 64 of the Noles’ 111 points in their four-point win over Virginia Tech for the ACC Indoor title.
“To be named the Director of Field Events and then to have everything start clicking this year, I’m like, ‘Cool, let’s keep this thing going,’” Scott said. “We’ve put ourselves in a really good position.”
Indeed. Entering the final three weekends of the regular season, FSU field event athletes are well-positioned to advance to the postseason. If NCAA East qualifying bids were finalized today the Noles men would be locked in for a whopping 13 spots among the top 48 in each event, and while the women’s group is significantly smaller, five of the six would-be qualifiers are ranked among the top 10 in their respective events.
The bountiful supply of high-ranking field events personnel is directly tied to the FSU’s standing in computer-based national rankings for the men and women. Both programs are back in the top 25 for the first time since 2015.
“I’m glowing all the time,” Scott said. “The other day I was lifting weights [thinking], ‘We’re No. 7, and in just a few years.’ With the kids we’ve brought in, the plan is working.
“Bringing in Corion [Knight] for a year from Florida Memorial and seeing what kind of freak that he is. Bringing in Kenneth Fisher from Bethune-Cookman for grad school after the stuff he had done there, then putting that Florida State pressure on him and seeing how he rises to the occasion. Armani [Wallace] is following his progression. It’s exciting.”
Of course the same is true on the women’s side, which is heavily tilted to Scott’s throwers. Sophomore Shanice Love and grad transfer Ieva Zarankaite are ranked 1-2 in the NCAA East in the discus, while senior Gleneve Grange – who was eighth in the discus at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships – is ranked 23rd. Freshman Lauri Paredes from Paraguay ranks fifth in the javelin. Oh, and Grange and Zarankaite are Nos. 6 and 8 in the shot put.
Scott was responsible from bringing them all into the fold.
“It’s good that the kids I put a lot of legwork on are being successful,” he said.
Scott’s record for developing throwers – FSU’s top 10 is littered with his pupils, including the women’s record-holders in the shot put (Grange), discus (Kellion Knibb), hammer (Veronika Kanuchova) and javelin (Paredes) – is impressive. In five-plus seasons he has amassed nine first-team All-American honors to go along with 10 individual ACC champions between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Still, he views his recruiting over a wide range of disciplines as an equally integral part of the programs’ success.
It’s one reason the New Jersey native, whose parents were born in Jamaica – whom Scott represented in the shot put at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games – makes the annual pilgrimage to the historic Penn Relays at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field. That’s where he is this weekend with the FSU throws group, which will get plenty of competition at the oldest and largest track & field meet in the United States, which also draws the finest high school athletes from Jamaica each year.
This is fertile recruiting ground, where the well-connected Scott is in his element. And it certainly hasn’t hurt that his Jamaican signees like the recently-graduated Knibb, a three-time Penn Relays discus champion and two-time field MVP, have flourished in front of fellow countrymen and women.
Though Scott regularly makes recruiting trips to Jamaica, he saw current Noles Grange and Love compete at the Penn Relays, as well as 2018 signee Sanjae Lawrence.
“At the end of the day I was never really brought in for FSU to be a throws program,” Scott said. “I was brought in to do a lot of recruiting, connect with the kids and be a bridge to help out all aspects. I’m still in that mode.”
The big picture is something Scott, a 2005 FSU graduate, sees more clearly today as he maps his course for professional development with an eye toward eventually running his own collegiate program. That’s one reason he embraced the greater responsibility as the Director of Field Events.
“It’s almost just natural,” Scott said of his expanded role. “It’s not something I overly think about. Making sure the program is tip-top and trying to do all I can do to help it is what comes natural to me anyway from being an athlete to now.
“On the professional side, it’s really good to feel that Coach Braman has given me more responsibility; that he trusts me with a section. Professionally, that feels good, especially wanting to be a head coach and run my own program eventually. Doing what’s best for the program is all I ever want to do.”
Those seeds were initially sown as an undergraduate with the Noles, where Scott earned All-American honors in the shot put under the direction of Harlis Meaders, who held the dual role of Associate Head Coach and Throws Coach.
“Coach Meaders was his mentor when he was a student-athlete here and I truly believe his guidance was key to Dorian’s development into an elite coach, and now to his role as Director of Field Events,” Braman said.
Meaders’ departure to become the head coach at North Carolina, his alma mater, cleared the way for Braman to bring Scott back to Tallahassee to oversee the throws program.
“My coach, Coach Meaders, was the Associate Head Coach and he took it extremely serious,” Scott said. “So while he was coaching me, we were really watching him try hard to prepare to be the best head coach he could possibly be. Watching that, through osmosis, right away my mind starts thinking more organization-wise and communication-wise with the kids…
“I think my brain has always kind of been in this mode. Maybe I didn’t consciously know it.”
Scott wasn’t the only thrower under Meaders to graduate into the coaching ranks. Duke’s B.J. Linnenbrink, Greg Jack at Cal State Northridge and Makiba Batten at Wayne State University are also on that path.
“I had a good relationship with Coach Meaders, so we talked about a lot more than just throwing,” said Scott, who served as a volunteer assistant under Meaders while competing professionally after graduation. “He recruited outside the throws. He recruited Rafeeq Curry [triple jump national champion] and Sean Campbell [400/800 standout] when we first came in.
“Now that I’m only six years in, I feel myself going in that mode. ‘Alright, I want to do more than be the throws coach. I want to help in every facet.’”
He’s doing that as a hands-on assistant for an FSU team he said is, “as deep as we’ve ever been in the field events.” And, at the same time, he’s learning outside the throwing and recruiting circles as well.
“You’ve got to credit Coach Braman in organizing the numbers to make sure it’s all possible,” Scott said, recognizing his bosses’ acumen for accruing assets within scholarship boundaries. “That’s something I hope he teaches me as the director, because that’s some number magic to squeeze all those kids in under the scholarship numbers.”
Braman is confident Scott will master that aspect, just as he has recruiting and developing elite throwers.
“Dorian has made a point to learn the ‘capology’ of scholarship management,” Braman said. “We’ve made a living out of beating our competition in scholarship management and that’s a skill that he’ll have mastered when he gets a head coaching opportunity someday.”