When Henry Washington was the acting athletic director at Detroit’s Southeastern High School of Technology, he and his student aide used to pass the time by talking about what, given unlimited resources, they would do to improve the school.
That teenager, Bart Scott, wasn’t a sure thing to make it in the NFL. He was an undrafted free agent when he joined the league, but Washington said there was something about him even back then.
“He was a superstar person,” said Washington, now the full-time AD. “So you knew something he was going to do was going to be special.”
The Jets linebacker will have the field at Southeastern named after him this Saturday the school’s annual picnic. The ceremony will take place on school grounds, across Fairview St. from the new Bart Scott Field.
His mother Dorita Adams, who also graduated from the school, will be there as well. She can remember wearing Scott’s letterman jacket to games when he returned to visit, and always being called Mrs. Scott by players and students.
In any other year, Scott might not be able to attend, but Adams said the timing is right.
“The lockout worked in his favor this year,” she said.
Scott has remained close to officials at the school. Last year when someone sawed off the aluminum bleachers at the school and trashed the press box, Scott was there. He paid to replace them with wooden bleachers painted silver, so they couldn’t be sold for scrap metal. He had the panes of glass replaced in the press box, the electrical wiring reinstalled and the drywall redone.
The project was completed just before the team’s homecoming game — the only home game of the season because of the vandals. Scott even paid for the DJ and decorations at the dance afterwards.
“He wanted to show the kids there is someone who cares,” Adams said.
And now the school will return some of the love. Adams said Scott didn’t just play football at Southeastern, but was also on the basketball team, ran track and competed in the shotput, even volleyball. Adams said in junior high, Scott would head to Detroit’s 5th precinct to take part in a program for kids who wanted to find out about a career in law enforcement.
There are pictures of Scott on the walls of his old school now. One in his Ravens uniform and another as a Jet. Washington said the students today are very aware of his contributions.
“It really helps out that he was a freshman football player,” Washington said, “and it helps out that he’s from the neighborhood.”
It makes Washington laugh that Scott used to talk in his office about improving the football program, about having a real field.
“He’s a dream maker, and we want to make his dreams come true,” Washington said.