WEST CHATHAM — A group of former football players for Simeon Career Academy High School huddled up one last time Monday at the South Side school to watch a preview of a documentary being made about their late coach Alvin Scott.
Jeffrey Morgan, who played wide receiver for Scott from 1972-1974, was in tears after the 30-minute preview ended.
"Coach Scott meant a lot to me personally because he showed me what being a black man was all about," recalled Morgan, who played for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks in 1979. "Ever since I could remember, I wanted to be a football player, and I had the privilege and honor of being on coach Scott's first team."
A marvelous man who cared about his boys is how William Johnson, who spent eight years in the National Football League, remembered Scott.
"My mother couldn't afford to give me bus fare to go to school every day, so coach Scott let me spend the night at his house after the games sometimes. This way I was closer to the school and didn't have to walk far," said Johnson, who turned to Scott's widow, Lola, and addressed her.
"Momma Scott, I know you didn't know this but your husband let me stay in your basement many nights."
Scott died in 2005 after a battle with cancer. Funeral services were held at the school, 8147 S. Vincennes Ave., on March 11 of that year, and Monday marked the eight-year anniversary of the funeral.
According to the Illinois High School Association, Scott compiled a record of 270 wins and 136 losses in 33 seasons at Simeon from 1972 to 2004.
Lola Scott said the full auditorium of alumni, former players and supporters at the screening Monday was overwhelming.
"I know my husband was loved by many people but I did not know it stretched this far. To see so many of our black men, who have went to college, played professional ball, and now mentoring to our youth is remarkable," she said.
"Al would sing to me all the time when we were together. His favorite song he sung to me was 'My Girl' by the Temptations. Now, every time I hear that song I think about him."
Alvin Scott Jr. played for his dad at Simeon from 1990-1994.
"We would come home after a game and he would put in a tape of the game for us to watch and study. I was tired and wanted to lay down, especially if we lost, but he made me stay up with him to watch the film," Scott Jr. said.
"Playing for my dad was no joke. He had tough work ethics that didn't stop on the field."
William Smith, a Simeon alumnus, wrote the documentary and said he expects to complete it by January.
"I loved this man. He meant so much to me and made a difference in my life that will last me forever," Smith said. "The most challenging part about doing this documentary is trying to condense his career in such a narrow window of time. After all, coach Scott's legacy is bigger than any film could ever capture."
Brian Smith, a 1974 graduate, is president of the Simeon Alumni Association. He said his time with Scott was "four years of extended education with a man who taught you how to be a black man first, scholar second and athlete last."