Championship coach has ties to Atmore

Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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A coach’s foundation is an important part of their career.

Hoover boys basketball coach Scott Ware, who got his start in coaching at Escambia County High School, helped lead the Bucs to back-to-back Class 7A state titles.

Hoover defeated Enterprise 59-34 March 2 at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.

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Just a couple days after the victory, Ware said the team’s blessed.

“We got really, really talented players,” Ware said in a telephone interview. “The better part of them being talented players, they’re really good people and they’re really good friends. They care about each other, and it makes the team first environment easy to make that narrative push.”

Ware said his team this season was primarily made up of two seniors, two sophomores and the rest juniors. The same juniors bunch won the blue map in 2023 as sophomores.

Ware said it’s pretty incredible the team accomplished this feat at this level of play.

“7A basketball in Alabama is basically small college basketball,” the Bucs coach said. “Each team has a coaching staff. It’s not just one coach. Each team is prepared. They know what you’re going to do before you do it. It’s really high level basketball. If you don’t play well, you’ll lose in 7A. For our guys to go last year 31-4 with mostly 10th graders, and this year a team full of juniors and go 30-3, it’s a pretty incredible feat at that classification.

“Not only do we play in 7A, we tend to travel all over the United States,” he added. “We’re well traveled, and well versed. We played teams from different states, and two of those were ranked in the top 100. It’s been an incredible season and I’m happy for them.”

Ware began his coaching career at ECHS as an assistant coach from 1997-1999. He then left and went to his alma mater, Walker High School, which is now Jasper High School, as an assistant for two years and then head coach for 10. Ware then left for Hoover as an assistant, and is in his 11th year at the school.

“This is my fourth year as a head basketball coach at Hoover,” Ware said. “I don’t take any credit for this. It’s all the players, and assistant coaches. When we won the semifinal game on (Feb. 29) Thursday, that put us at 100 wins in four seasons. We’re now 101 wins in four seasons after winning the state title game.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the kids in the program and the assistant coaches,” he added.

Ware said he cherished his time at ECHS.

“My time at Escambia County was incredible,” he said. “We had really talented teams. We were really successful. Coach (Bob) Zarahn, he’s a hard nosed defensive minded guy. I really think that rubbed off on me. As a player coming up, I was always offensively oriented. I never saw a shot I didn’t like. Being a round him, if you take a defensive approve on the game, it gives you a chance every night.”

Ware said his assistant coach in Trent Hosmer now calls the offensive plays, ironically.

“I’m in charge of the defense,” he said. “Of course I have the final call. I totally trust Trent. Defensively, from coach Zarahn, he’s a defensive minded coach, most games most nights.”

Ware said the experience at ECHS helped lay a solid foundation coaching wise for him.

“My time with him (Zarn) was incredible,” he said. “We were really close. I think the world of him. I’m just trying to learn along the way from anybody that I’ve been around. You learn not only good stuff, but stuff not to do, especially as an assistant. When I was the head coach at Walker, we went to the regionals, but I was still young. When I moved to Hoover High School, as coach (Charles) Burkett’s assistant, I learned so much under coach Burkett that we had a lot of the same thoughts.”

Ware added he learned a lot from Burkett’s mentor, former Jacksonville State University coach Bill Jones, who also lives in Hoover.

While coaching at ECHS, Ware met and eventually married Mandy Moorhead, an Atmore native. Mandy’s mother, Susan A. Moorhead, is in her 47th year of teaching elementary school in the Atmore area. Scott and Mandy have two daughters and a son.

“We’re back and forth to Atmore,” Ware said. “Layton Knight, I coached Layton when I was at Atmore. A lot of super memories came from those guys and those teams.”

Ware said Knight was a cerebral player, and one a coach can trust.

“It was like having a coach on the floor,” he said. “You can trust him having a plan and accomplishing it. He was good carrying that out.”

Ware said he still gets former players from Atmore who contact him, thanking him for pushing them so hard.

“They were really appreciative of me pushing them,” Ware said. “I see a lot of them when I come back. Just being able to talk with those guys is special. It comes full circle.”