College Sports

Here are 5 things to know about Davidson’s new football coach

Scott Abell speaks to an audience at Davidson on Wednesday after he was introduced as the school’s 28th head football coach. He spent the past six seasons as Washington & Lee’s coach.
Scott Abell speaks to an audience at Davidson on Wednesday after he was introduced as the school’s 28th head football coach. He spent the past six seasons as Washington & Lee’s coach.

Davidson introduced new football coach Scott Abell on Wednesday. Here are five things to know about Abell, 48, who left Division III’s Washington & Lee to try and turn around a Wildcats program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007 and went 7-49 in five seasons under former coach Paul Nichols:

An impressive (baseball) debut

Abell was a three-sport athlete at Western Albemarle (Va.) High and attended Longwood on a baseball scholarship. A good enough college player to be drafted by the Kansas City Royals, he hit a home run in his first at-bat as a minor leaguer. That was about as good as it got for Abell, who soon returned to Virginia, where he began coaching high school football in 1993.

A triple-option guy

Abell runs a triple-option offense and doesn’t expect to change at Davidson.

“I’m an option guy by nature,” Abell said. “I’m a true believer that you have to evolve as a coach, but you also stick to your roots. We’re a gun triple-option team; some tag it as a spread option. It’s a great fit for players we have here.”

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New Davidson football coach Scott Abell said he plans to install the triple option, an offense that was successful for him at Division III Washington & Lee. TIM COWIE-DavidsonPhotos.com

Washington & Lee led Division III in rushing three of the past six seasons. In 2015, the Generals went unbeaten in the regular season and set school records in total yards (5,439), rushing offense (4,773) and points (417).

Getting his guy – finally

Davidson running back Wesley Dugger was one of the Pioneer Football League’s top freshmen last season, gaining 1,131 yards and scoring eight touchdowns. Coming out of high school in Richmond, Va., he chose Davidson over – Abell and Washington & Lee.

“It’s crazy how the world works out,” Abell said. “He’s ideal for what we do.”

Recruiting philosophy

Abell placed no limits on where the Wildcats will recruit.

“We’re going to broad-base this thing,” he said.

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New Davidson football coach Scott Abell (center) is flanked by athletics director Jim Murphy and President Carol Quillen, who attended Wednesday’s introductory news conference at Harry L. Vance Athletic Center. Abell is the school’s 28th head football coach. TIM COWIE-DavidsonPhotos.com

But he also said he’d look hard at players from the Charlotte area. Abell said Davidson, which plays in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League in the NCAA’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision, will also go after players who are being recruited by Ivy League schools.

Hiring a staff

Abell said he is close to announcing his staff. It will be a mix of new coaches with some holdovers from Nichols’ staff, he said.

Abell also said he will call offensive plays. “Then (fans) will know who to fuss at,” he said.

David Scott: @davidscott14

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