When it comes to cross country, there’s no such thing as “cancelled practice.” Even through rainstorms, heatwaves and some bad air quality conditions, the running never stops. But through all the thick and thin, one man has been there since the start: Daniel M. Scott, also known as “Coach” to his athletes.
For nearly two decades, Scott has been working to build and support the Sunny Hills cross country team — he took over head coaching duties for track and field two years ago after Scott Enrico became the head coach for boys golf.
Since then, he has guided his cross country squads to 19 Freeway League titles, 13 with girls varsity and six straight with boys varsity. He has taken his girls runners to CIF meets each year he has coached here and 15 times with the boys.
And at CIF finals, his female runners have competed six times with three state level appearances. Meanwhile, male runners appeared in CIF finals twice with the first appearance in school history at the state level in 2018.
After racking up such a staggering streak, Scott said he has decided to move to Northern California with his family for personal reasons.
“Even though I [will move] away, I hope to coach in the near future,” he said. “The hardest part of coaching is getting different personalities working toward a common goal.”
Despite his absence at Sunny Hills, he will live on in the hearts of his runners.
“Coach Scott was always there for everyone; if it was running related or not, he was there and he never gave up on anyone,” sophomore and runner Emiliano Zalva said. “He always saw potential in people and really made a great family here at Sunny Hills. He was a great coach and mentor, and I know he will be missed.”
Whether it be during the last 100 yards of a two mile run or in the midst of personal drama, Scott would always be there to pull his runners through, yelling on the sidelines to “drop those arms” and reminding athletes that “we have to want it.”
“Coach genuinely cared about his runners, he was a big part of teaching me discipline and being responsible for my actions,” said senior Angelina Paredes, who’s been part of Scott’s program since she was a freshman. “He was the best cross country [and track coach Sunny Hills had and will ever have.”
Scott always reminded his runners to not settle, because if they want to accomplish something, they have to work for it.
“In the moments when everyone was out of energy, tired, or just weren’t pushing their hardest, coach Scott will motivate us to go faster by saying, ‘Come on guys! You’re not going to get faster if you’re just going to settle! To win a race you have to want it more than your opponents,’” cross country runner freshman Julissa Herrera said.
He will be missed by not only his athletes, but by his coworkers, whom he stood by relentlessly over the years.
“Change happens and is a good thing,” Sunny Hills athletics director Jon Caffery said. “Coach Scott was a fantastic coach and leader on campus, [and] we will miss him tremendously.”
By pushing his team to do its best, Scott has paved a path for any new incoming coaches — despite no coach being chosen to to fill this position yet.
“We will find the best coach for our program, [and] we expect to continue to compete for championships every year,” Caffery said.
With or without their coach, the cross country and track and field teams plan to carry on Scott’s legacy by forever keeping his motivational speeches at heart, like this one:
“If you decide to join a sport, club or even get a job, give it your all,” Scott said. “You only go to high school once — don’t leave with any regrets.”