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Joe Scott (basketball)

Joseph Winston Scott (born July 28, 1965) is an American college basketball coach who is currently an assistant coach at Georgia. Scott previously was head coach at Air Force, Princeton, and Denver.

Joe Scott
Joe Scott Air Force photo.jpg
Air Force photo of Scott
Current position
TitleAssistant coach
Biographical details
Born (1965-07-28) July 28, 1965 (age 54)
Pelican Island, New Jersey
Playing career
Position(s)Point guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1991–1992Monmouth (assistant)
1992–2000Princeton (assistant)
2000–2004Air Force
2016–2018Holy Cross (assistant)
2018–presentGeorgia (assistant)
Head coaching record
Tournaments0–1 (NCAA Division I)
1–1 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors
MW regular season (2004)
WAC regular season (2013)
MW Coach of the Year (2004)

Early life and educationEdit

Born on Pelican Island near Toms River, New Jersey, Scott played baseball, basketball and football at Toms River High School East, where he set the school's basketball career scoring record.[1] Scott played at point guard in high school and set a school record for career basketball points with 1,550.

As a player in the mid-1980s, Scott learned the "Princeton offense," a methodical system that seeks high-percentage shots by passing until the right opportunity rather than a fast-pace offense with more shots. As a result, Scott has frequently instituted a deliberate pace as a coach, often coaching the slowest-paced team in the country.[2]

In 1990, Scott earned his law degree at Notre Dame Law School and became a personal injury lawyer at New Jersey law firm Ribis, Graham, & Carter. In 2004, Scott reflected on his legal career: "If you are not a public defender or a prosecutor, most of the time what you are trying to do is help yourself, and when I was doing what I was doing every day, I sat there and said, ‘Who am I helping?’ It's all about billing hours."[3]

Coaching careerEdit

After being an assistant coach at Monmouth University for the 1991–92 season, Scott returned to Princeton as an assistant coach, first under Pete Carril from 1992 to 1996 and Bill Carmody from 1996 to 2000. Scott's time as assistant coach included a 1996 win over defending champion UCLA in the NCAA Tournament and a no. 7 ranking and another second-round NCAA appearance in 1998. The 1998 team earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest ranking ever for an Ivy League school.

From 2000 to 2004, Scott was head coach at Air Force. Scott accrued a 51–63 record. After guiding the Falcons to a 22–7 record and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2003–04, Scott was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year and was hired to succeed John Thompson III as the head coach at Princeton.

Scott had a 38–45 record through three seasons at Princeton. The team finished sixth in the Ivy League in 2004–05, his first season, with a 6–8 record, before rebounding to a 10–4 mark good for second place in the conference in 2005–06. Scott Greenman, a senior point guard, became Scott's first and only First-Team All-Ivy player in 2006.

The Tigers finished with a 2–12 Ivy record in 2006–07, its first-ever last-place finish in the Ivy League. That season, Princeton scored just 21 points in a loss to Monmouth, tying a then Division I record for fewest points scored in a game since the inception of the three-point line. The Tigers also fell to Carnegie Mellon University — a Division III opponent. It was the first such defeat in school history.

Scott then served as head coach at the University of Denver from 2007 to 2016. During these nine seasons, Denver went 146–132 and had one postseason appearance, in the NIT, in the same year Denver shared the regular season WAC title in its lone season in the conference.[4][5] On March 11, 2016, Denver fired Scott with two years remaining on his contract. An associate vice chancellor at Denver commented: "We want to get to the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball. We looked at what Joe’s team had done over the nine years and decided it was time to make a transition. Postseason success had not occurred."[6]

On May 23, 2016, Scott became an assistant coach at Holy Cross for his second stint working under Bill Carmody, having previously been an assistant under Carmody at Princeton from 1996 to 2000.[7]

After two seasons with Holy Cross, Scott was hired by Tom Crean to be an assistant at the University of Georgia.[8]

Head coaching recordEdit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Air Force Falcons (Mountain West Conference) (2000–2004)
2000–01 Air Force 8–20 3–11 8th
2001–02 Air Force 9–19 3–11 T–7th
2002–03 Air Force 12–16 3–11 8th
2003–04 Air Force 22–7 12–2 1st NCAA Division I Round of 64
Air Force: 51–63 (.447) 21–35 (.375)
Princeton Tigers (Ivy League) (2004–2007)
2004–05 Princeton 15–13 6–8 6th
2005–06 Princeton 12–15 10–4 2nd
2006–07 Princeton 11–17 2–12 8th
Princeton: 38–45 (.458) 18–24 (.429)
Denver Pioneers (Sun Belt Conference) (2007–2012)
2007–08 Denver 11–19 7–11 5th (West)
2008–09 Denver 15–16 9–9 3rd (West)
2009–10 Denver 19–13 10–8 T–3rd (West)
2010–11 Denver 13–17 9–7 3rd (West)
2011–12 Denver 22–9 11–5 2nd
Denver Pioneers (Western Athletic Conference) (2012–2013)
2012–13 Denver 22–10 16–2 T–1st NIT Second Round
Denver Pioneers (Summit League) (2013–2016)
2013–14 Denver 16–15 8–6 4th
2014–15 Denver 12–18 6–10 T–6th
2015–16 Denver 16–15 7–9 6th
Denver: 146–132 (.525) 83–67 (.553)
Total: 235–240 (.495)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Personal lifeEdit

Scott's wife, Leah (Spraragen), is a 1992 Princeton graduate and was also a point guard, playing for the Tiger women's basketball team. They have two children, Ben and Jack Scott.[9]


  1. ^ Hall of Fame: Joseph W. Scott, Toms River Regional Schools. Accessed May 28, 2013. "A Pelican-Island native, Joe was a three-sport (football, basketball, baseball) standout at Toms River High School East."
  2. ^
  3. ^ Jacobson, Todd (March 16, 2004). "Destined to coach". Colorado Springs Gazette. Archived from the original on July 8, 2004. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  4. ^ "Joe Scott". sports-reference. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  5. ^ "Joe Scott". University of Denver. 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  6. ^ Moss, Irv (March 11, 2016). "Joe Scott fired as Denver men's basketball coach, Rodney Billups could be successor". Denver Post. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Scott Named Assistant Men's Basketball Coach". College of the Holy Cross. May 23, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  8. ^ "Scott leaves Holy Cross to join Crean's staff at Georgia". Macon Telegraph. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  9. ^

External linksEdit