JackChat: Rich Scangarello
Recently hired NAU offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello is a traveled man. He has coached at all levels of football and has now brought that experience to the Lumberjacks. He took some time off from getting adjusted to a new program and Flagstaff life to sit down with The Lumberjack to discuss his arrival at NAU, his career and why he enjoyed a certain day in February.
The Lumberjack: So, first off, why did you choose to come to NAU?
Rich Scangarello: There was a couple of reasons. I coached at UC-Davis, which just moved to the Big Sky. I knew Brian Lindgren before and had a close relationship with him. I knew they were right on the cusp of having a lot of success and the opportunity arose and I was fortunate that coach Souers hired me.
LJ: Did you have any prior knowledge of the program?
RS: I had known Cary Grossart as a player and recruited him at UC-Davis. I knew coach [Andy] Thompson and knew it would be a good fit to be a part of something that’s about to turn the corner.
LJ: Any idea of what Flagstaff is like?
RS: I’ve had friends who coached and played here. I had heard about Flagstaff but had only driven through it, but I really like it. I grew up on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and it has that same feel. I love a good college town.
LJ: What was it like moving around the country because of your job?
RS: Well, I think the profession leads to moving around, unfortunately. We all have ambitions and that means you have to be willing to move to the best opportunity. When I find a place I like, even when opportunity knocks, I like sticking around.
LJ: Any memorable experiences from your travels around the country?
RS: I’ve had a tremendous amount of great relationships and monumental wins. I was on the UC-Davis staff when we beat Stanford, and that was a huge upset. When I was with the Raiders, we needed to save our jobs and went into Pittsburgh and [the Steelers].
LJ: How have the coaches received you?
RS: Knowing Brian [Lindgren] and some of the guys here has been helpful. I’ve gotten to know coach Thompson and coach Reid and some of the others on the staff I’ve coached against at times. I really have enjoyed the camaraderie. Its a great environment to work in.
LJ: What has the interaction been like with the players as the new guy?
RS: The interaction has been tremendous. The players are eager to get better and I think they realize how close they are to turning a corner. I think they appreciate a new teaching philosophy and a different perspective and they’ve embraced it and there has been a new attitude on the field.
LJ: Is there a way to try to hype up your players?
RS: I expect us to have a lot of energy when we step on the field. I think if everyone is moving together they’ll feed off of that.
LJ: Favorite football movie?
RS: Its a really old one that no one will ever know, but its called North Dallas 40. Its a classic, old-school look at the NFL and has a lot of good scenes.
LJ: Favorite professional team? Now, we know you worked for the Raiders, so . . .
RS: Never really was a big Raider fan, quite honestly. I grew up in Northern California disliking them, [and] just happened to work for them. The reality is, I’m a New York Giant fan. I grew up that way and I have been from Lawrence Taylor all the way to Eli Manning.
LJ: I bet you were pretty happy this year, right?
RS: Very happy. It was a great year and a great win. Its always good when you beat the Patriots.
LJ: Getting back to the upcoming season, any big plans for the offense this year?
RS: I would say that I’m looking to use our personnel with their strengths. Fortunate to have great tight ends, fullbacks and backs and that allows you to be very imaginative. I would say that Chris Petersen [Boise State head coach] is a ‘mentor’ of mine and in the vintage Boise mode, I love trick plays and have had a lot of success calling them and will call them anytime, anywhere.