A legendary Ballston Spa football coach has died at age 97, ending a story that began at the high school before World War II.
The Ballston Spa sports teams, called the Scotties, were named in honor of William R. Scott. The high school football field is also named for him.
Scott’s granddaughter, Vicki Guido, said he died Saturday at his home in Galway. “He was able to take care of himself to the end, and his death has left a big hole in our lives,” she said. “There will be no calling hours or funeral. He was adamant about not wanting those things.”
Scott was hired as the sole physical education instructor for the Ballston Spa schools in 1940, at a time when the school had no athletic teams.
He retired from the district in 1976 but continued to assist football coaches and Ballston Spa teams through 1999.
Guido said he helped with his last game when he was 89.
“He said it was too cold on the sidelines and he had to stop,” she said.
In an interview with The Daily
Gazette in 1995, Scott said, “When you like to do something, what the heck, time flies.”
John “Jack” Rentz of Burnt Hills was a longtime friend of Scott’s as well as a rival coach.
Rentz was the athletic director at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake from 1949 through 1970.
“I knew Bill when we were in high school. He was at Saratoga Springs and I was from Stillwater,” Rentz said Wednesday. “We were rival coaches later, but we were always friends.”
He said Scott’s teams were strong and aggressive and he enjoyed it when his teams would play Ballston Spa.
“What I remember about his coaching style was that he always had his youngsters well under control,” Rentz said.
Ron Ravena was one of those players in the 1950s. He later earned a physical education teaching degree and was hired by his alma mater.
Eventually, he was elevated to coach of the football team and Scott was Ravena’s assistant, but that was really in name only, Ravena said.
“I may have been the coach, but if I made a mistake, Mr. Scott didn’t hesitate to point it out,” he said.
Ravena said he never called Scott by his first name.
“Even on his 97th birthday, I either called him Coach, Scottie or Mr. Scott,” he said. “I’d never think of calling him Bill.”
Scott was born in 1911 in Greenfield and played high school football, basketball and baseball as well as lettering in track.
During World War II, Scott was in the Naval Air Corps and trained aviators in sports at pre-flight schools around the country.
He later told the Gazette that he played baseball with some major leaguers while he was in the service.
“I played baseball with Ted Williams in Pensacola. That’s my claim to fame,” he said.
A celebration of Scott’s life will be held at 6 p.m. on July 23 in the Ballston Spa High School auditorium, with a reception to follow in the cafeteria, according to district spokesman Stuart Williams.
The family has requested that memorials take the form of contributions to the William R. Scott Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Ballston Spa National Bank.