After 19 years of being part of the St. Thomas University men’s basketball program, head coach Scott MacLeod is stepping down.
MacLeod was an assistant coach for 15 years but took over as head coach four years ago. He said he’s ready to look at the next stage of his life, but his retirement is bittersweet.
“I’ll miss the boys,” said MacLeod.
He’s been playing basketball since Grade 9. Before basketball, MacLeod played the trombone, but as he tried different activities, he found a love for the game.
“I really enjoy studying the game, understanding the concept and the flow of the action. So that’s where my love ended up,” said MacLeod.
But MacLeod said he loves the players more than the game.
“They’re my family, they’re my kids. I probably see them more than I see my own grown children,” said MacLeod.
He makes time to meet with the players to talk about basketball, school and even personal problems.
“They call you and they say, ‘Coach, I’m struggling with something’ [and] I just drop everything and I’m there,” said MacLeod.
MacLeod said each season he has committed to spending at least 20 minutes with every player one-on-one every two weeks.
Fourth-year player Travis Valanne met MacLeod when he was still in high school and was called to do a workout with other potential recruits.
Valanne said MacLeod taught him how to deal with the busy schedule of being a student-athlete.
When Valanne was going through a hard time, MacLeod could tell something was off.
“I could tell that he just cared and [he] didn’t say like ‘Get over it because we need you to play,’ it was ‘Are you OK? Can I help you in anyway?’” said Valanne.
Valanne wasn’t the only person who MacLeod has impacted.
Brandan Seagrave, a fifth-year student and basketball player, has known MacLeod since his first year on the team.
Seagrave said MacLeod is approachable and caring.
“He was probably one of the best assistant coaches I have ever had playing basketball,” said Seagrave.
Seagrave said when he was having some personal problems and MacLeod was understanding.
“I was in a very dark place and it got to the point where I was feeling at the lowest point you could possibly get to. After practice I went to him, sat down and I said, ‘I need to go to the hospital, I can’t keep going with this,'” said Seagrave.
“He literally drove me to my place, waited in the parking lot for me while I got a shower and drove me up to the hospital. All on his own time, his own vehicle, his own money for gas.”
Seagrave said he respects a coach who takes the time for one individual player who is going through a hard time. Seagrave said MacLeod is like a father figure to him.
MacLeod said that it’s not about winning games, but seeing players develop.
“They mean a lot. They are what drive me and I’m emotional because that’s what I’m going to miss of the game,” said MacLeod.
“[I’m going to miss] not seeing them every day, not seeing them excel, make mistakes, pick them up, knock them down, pick them up again.”