Cummings plans to take a year off to watch son play
By Steve Williams
It’s been a little over three weeks since the surprising news came out that Scott Cummings had resigned as head football coach at Oak Ridge High School. That got me to wondering about Cummings’ future plans, so I texted him last week and he replied.
Any news on where you may be coaching this year?
“Nowhere,” answered Scott. “I have a son that is at Oak Ridge and he plays football and basketball. I’m not making him move again and I’m not going to coach somewhere and not see him play. So as of right now I’m taking a year off.”
That’s commendable on Cummings’ part, I thought. It says a lot about Scott’s character and priorities in life. He’s putting his love for his son and their relationship ahead of himself and what he loves to do on Friday nights in the fall.
So, Coach Cummings won’t be on the sideline at historic Blankenship Field this coming season, but he will be in the stands.
Connor, his youngest of two boys, is currently a junior at Oak Ridge. Scott’s oldest son, Caden, is a freshman at Tennessee Tech. He was a senior quarterback in his dad’s last season coaching at Halls before he got the OR job.
“As of right now I will finish the school year at least teaching at Oak Ridge,” added Cummings in the text message. “Coach teach an English class and two social studies classes.”
I can’t imagine how tough it must be to still be in the school building and no longer able to fulfill the main purpose you came there for in the first place. The father-son relationship between Scott and Connor must be very special.
And I would be amiss too if I forgot Coach Cummings’ other boys who will return from last season.
The best way I can tell you Scott’s feelings for them is to share the statement Coach Cummings posted Dec. 16, the day he learned where he stood in the eyes of the Oak Ridge Schools administration.
“Dear Oak Ridge players, Staff and Community. This morning following a meeting with Oak Ridge Schools administration I was informed that the direction of the football program was not in the vision of Oak Ridge Schools so I am resigning. I am truly heartbroken. To my players, I in no way want to leave you. I love you all very much. Once my guys always my guys. I was looking forward to our growth beginning after Christmas break for 2023. Please know I am still here for you.”
Oak Ridge lost some of its best players to injuries during the season but got most of them back prior to the playoffs. The Wildcats finished 5-5 in the regular season and 7-6 overall, after winning two playoff games before being eliminated at Powell 43-13 in a game that many felt would be much closer.
Cummings, a 1988 West High graduate, was head coach at his alma mater from 2002-2014. He guided the Rebels to back to back state title appearances in 2013 and 2014, bringing home the gold football in 2014.
He left West as the school’s all-time leader in wins and playoff victories and his next two coaching stops were at Cleveland (2015-18) and Halls (2019-21).
Cummings felt Oak Ridge would be the perfect place to finish out his career. He had longed for a place that mirrored Maryville’s program and Oak Ridge had just that with two middle school feeder programs and a talent-rich Boys Club youth program.
Many folks, including myself, are still wondering why it didn’t work out.