NEW ORLEANS — Jeff Scott could not have dreamed of a better ending to his Clemson career than the one he will experience Monday night.
Scott, who has spent most of the last two decades in Clemson as a player and as a coach, will coach in his last game as a Tiger when Clemson plays LSU in the College Football Playoff National Championship at the Superdome. The longtime assistant coach under Dabo Swinney took over as the new head coach at South Florida last month.
“Knowing at some point I was going to have to leave Clemson, I never really envisioned what that was going to look like, but I guess I could not dream that my ride out of Clemson would be on the team bus headed for the national championship,” Scott said. “That literally is my last ride leaving Clemson. I will leave Tuesday morning and will fly from here to Tampa and I probably will not be back to Clemson until the spring when I bring some coaches up for a clinic or something like that.
“Definitely, the reality of that is setting in.”
In the last week, Scott has tried to balance his emotions. On Twitter earlier this week, he posted a picture with his wide receivers after he participated in his last practice in Clemson.
“It has been really special,” Scott said. “Like I put in that tweet, I have been very fortunate to not just coach some great players because there are great players everywhere, but great players that happen to be great young men.
“That is what I will remember. When you look back you don’t just remember the championships or the trophies, you remember who you did it with and that is probably the biggest thing I will take from my time at Clemson. The coaches, the staff, the administration, the people around Clemson university, the community and then, obviously, the players have been very special to me and my family.”
Scott said the reality of his last game at Clemson has also set in for his wife Sarah, who is from Batesburg-Leesville. A Clemson graduate herself, she is excited about moving to Tampa. Then there is his daughter Savannah, who is just three years old.
“Savannah does not really know what’s going on,” Scott said. “When we came back after being in Tampa for nine days and we got on the bus to head to Arizona, she was asking Sarah if these were the Bulls’ players or the Tigers’. She was a little confused. Really, we have just told her that she is going to Disney World in February, so she is excited about that and that is about as much as she needs to know right now.”
But there is still one more game remaining, and Scott hopes he is celebrating a victory and carrying Savannah off the field on his shoulders as a Clemson Tiger and national champion one more time.
“My entire time here at Clemson has been incredible,” he said. “We have won at the highest level and really for these seniors … I consider myself a senior. These four offensive linemen and maybe some of these juniors that might be leaving, there is no other way they should go out than to be able to put that trophy up in the air on Monday night.”