Coach Scott Donaldson


Take a Timeout with Dustin Sullivan

Guest – Scott Donaldson

Podcast Release date- 10/6/2022

Season 1, Episode 7

Elaine (announcer) Welcome to taking a timeout with Dustin Sullivan a production of the Kan Du group.  Kan Du group is a 501 (c)3 non-profit provider of services for adults with developmental disabilities and is pleased to bring you this podcast.  Today Dustin’s guest is Scott Donaldson.  Scott is a native of New York and a graduate of Suny of Rockport he played football during his college career and helped lead his team to the NCAA division 3 playoffs three times.  Coach Donaldson has spent his entire coaching career at Heidelberg.  During his tenure he has served as a full-time defensive coach, defensive coordinator and on December 4th 2015 was promoted to head coach.  Scott is entering his 19th season coaching and 7th season as a head coach.  During his first six seasons as head coach Scott has a career record of 35 wins and 19 losses.  We are introducing a new thing to taking a timeout with Dustin Sullivan.  We’re going to be doing a trivia question of the week.  So, in honor of our guest being from New York our trivia question of the week is one thing the state of New York is known for is the finger lakes, these lakes were all carved out by glaciers after the ice age which makes them look long, narrow and similar to fingers.  How many finger lakes are there? We will bring you the answer to the question later on in the podcast.  So now let’s turn the mic over to our host Dustin Sullivan.

Dustin – Are you ready Scott?”

Scott – Yes, sir.

Dustin – So what brought you to Northwest Ohio?

Scott – Specifically it was a job.  When you’re getting out into the coaching world especially your first job, you can’t really be very choosy.  I graduated in December, and I knew I wanted to coach but I was doing about 9 months of construction and just sending my resume out to anyone that had it and that would take it and luckily Heidelberg called me back and brought me on and I’ve been here ever since. 

Dustin – That’s awesome.  What do you like about Tiffin Ohio?

Scott – I love Tiffin Ohio.  It is a great place to set your roots down start a family which I’ll be honest is kind of weird for me.  I grew of right outside of Buffalo, kind of a city boy.  Moving out here was a little bit of a shock.  There’s a lot of cornfields and soy fields but Tiffin is an amazing place because it has amazing people.  From everyone from the two colleges in it which by definition it isn’t a college town but the people in this town are absolutely amazing and just being here has opened up a lot of doors for me and my family. 

Dustin – It’s a good small town to raise a family.  Do you have any favorite restaurants in Tiffin Ohio?

Scott – Obviously I eat a lot but I eat at all of them my favorite is probably the Clover Club.  I’ve been going there for 19 years they have great burgers.  Madison’s is phenomenal it’s the more famous one and Chase does a great job.  I think one of the undersold one’s in town is definitely Bench Warmers.  They’ve got good food.

Dustin – And the viaduct

Scott – Yea the Viaduct.  I gotta stay out of the viaduct Dustin.  That’s the place where the college kids go most often

Dustin – Madison Street is a good place to go.

Scott – Madison’s is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.  I’m a wing snob.  I’m from Buffalo the sauce has got to be just right.  Madison’s is the closest I’ll give you that but

Dustin – So I bet you and John have an argument over wings sometimes.

Scott – Yep. Me and John argue about a lot of things, mostly because he’s a Michigan fan. 

Dustin – What is your all-time favorite food?

Scott – Chicken wings. 

Dustin – That’s mine.

Scott - Boom.  Let’s go. 

Dustin – Spicy or hot?

Scott – I don’t like them too hot.  It can have a little kick but usually medium sauce but it’s gotta be the right sauce.  There’s two ingredients to the right chicken wing sauce.  Butter and franks. 

Dustin – And garlic and parmesan

Scott – I can respect that but I’m a traditionalist.  I want butter and I want franks.  That’s it. 

Dustin – You’re from Buffalo so you like it original. 

Elaine – I snuck in a question of my own here.  Naming my kids, I started double letters.  I saw that you, your kids and your wife all have double letters in your names.  Was that planned?

Scott – Absolutely not. 

Elaine – No?

Scott – Did not realize it until right now. 

Elaine – There is though right.

Scott – There is.  There absolutely is.

Elaine – There is in my family.  All three of my kids.  And your kids have a vowel consonant consonant vowel and I have a vowel consonant consonant vowel thing going on.  But my daughter then we couldn’t figure out something so we ended up with, but I like Emma. 

Scott – I did not realize that until right now. 

Elaine – I was like did it all happen, the double letter thing in Tiffin. 

Scott – Absolutely.  So, I’ve been here this is my 19th year I came actually August 1st 2004 was my first day. My wife was finishing her doctoral school while in Buffalo so when I finished my masters she graduated with her doctorate and right after we moved right out here.  So, she’s been out here for 17 years now.  My kids are 12 and the girl just turned 10. 

Elaine – Since we are talking about you guys and your move to Tiffin lets throw in the answer to that trivia question real quick.  The answer is eleven.  Eleven freshwater lakes placed like a hand print are located between lake Ontario and the Pennsylvania border. 

Dustin – I would have guessed there was only like 8. 

Scott – I was going to say five.  There’s beautiful great wineries down there. 

Dustin – So I heard you knew my cousin John Huffman.  So how did you actually know John?

Scott – We’ve known each other probably since I moved down here.  He worked at Heidelberg and one of the biggest selling points Heidelberg has is always just the straight beauty of our campus.  It is a gorgeous campus not only the architecture but the landscaping.  That’s John’s fault.  John does everything he’s head of grounds but he makes this campus gorgeous.  So I knew him well before he was the head of grounds and we’re about the same age, he’s a little bit older.  Obviously I’m much better looking.  But just became friends through there.  His wife was actually one of my students when I was teaching at Heidelberg.  Just got to know each other through there and through football.  John’s a great football coach too coaching the 8th grade team my son plays on the 7th grade team.  We’re very like minded individuals he’s a great dude actually built my deck for me around my pool.

Dustin – He’s a good handyman

Scott – No doubt.  He knows what he’s doing a lot better than I do.  That deck would not be standing if I did it.

Dustin – So you guys probably go back and forth because you’re Buffalo and he’s Steelers. 

Scott – Yea well you can’t cancel guys for one bad decision. 

Dustin – His son’s a pretty good football player too.

Scott – His son’s a great football player.  I’m excited to recruit him in a year or two. 

Dustin – I think he’ll be good in a couple years.

Scott – I think so. 

Dustin – Do you teach anything at the University?

Scott – I did, and I love teaching.  I did for a good ten years.  I taught coaching philosophy class and I love teaching and somehow, I actually taught a nutrition class.  I shouldn’t have been teaching it.  And a few other smaller classes here and there and I absolutely loved it.  Especially that coaching class.  It really was designed for people who wanted to be high school and college coaches.  When I became head coach, they took that off my plate.  Just the first couple years as head coach are kind of eye opening and the workload so they took that off my plate.  They gave it to a couple of my assistant coaches, but I do miss teaching and hopefully in a year or two I can get back into it. 

Dustin – That’s awesome.  So, are there any traditions that Heidelberg does every year?

Scott – Gosh there’s way too many.  We’d have to stretch this interview out to a good two hours.  That’s one of the coolest parts of Heidelberg.  Heidelberg’s been yielding a football team since 1892.  This is the 130th season at Heidelberg.  That’s unbelievable.  And the traditions that comes along with that really get to be fun.  So there’s a lot.  Mike Halit got here, he was my predecessor he brought back what the victory bell was and that’s something that’s really special.  So back pre-World War two after wins the entire team would go over to University Hall and ring the bell.  University hall in admissions is going to yell at me I think it was 1892 I think it got built.  A long time, before both of our times.  So, after World War two we started playing downtown and when we got games back on campus, we wanted to bring that tradition of the victory bell back so we’ve been doing ever since.  After every home game, every home win the entire team and now it’s turned into the band leads the team and the entire stadium empties out.  After our win on Saturday there had to be about 2000 people over at university hall in the bell.  I got my GA’s up in the bell tower ringing it.  It’s something really unique to Heidelberg that I love that everybody just empties campus and goes over there.  But there are so many traditions involved with our program way too many to get into right now.

Dustin – Heidelberg.  So, who did they beat?

Scott – We beat Adrian College last weekend.  It was a good game 31 nothing first shut out since 2015.  It was a good football game with two good teams. 

Dustin – What kind of sports did you play growing up?

Scott – I was more of a baseball kid growing up.  Baseball and bowling.  Those were my sports.  That’s all we did.  My dad was a bowler my mom was a bowler.  I bowled like five leagues growing up. 

Elaine – Kan Du is going bowling on Friday.

Scott – I’m jealous.  I miss it we don’t have an alley in Tiffin right now. 

Dustin – John’s grandmother, she was a good bowler. 

Scott – Really? 

Dustin – She used to be in leagues.

Scott – that’s awesome.  I was a baseball guy I was a third basemen and they always put fat guys on first and third, so I played third my whole life.  I played backyard football growing up in the 90s that’s all we did was street hockey and backyard football.  And I didn’t actually put on pads until the 9th grade.  I still really liked baseball more than I liked football as a younger guy then really junior senior year it really changed, and I realized that I really wasn’t very good at baseball and I was much better at football.  So that kind of led my career path down the way it has. 

Dustin – So who did you grow up liking? Were you a Reds fan?

Scott – No.  Bills and Indians.  Buffalo Bisons used to be the Indians farm club grew up watching when Kenny Laughtin came through and all the guys that played in the late 90s.  those were the guys I watched. 

Dustin – The funny thing is we are talking about baseball.  John doesn’t even like baseball. 

Scott – Oh really?  We played on a softball team together.  He wasn’t very good. 

Dustin – football is his game.

Scott – Yes football is definitely his game. 

Dustin – So what person most inspired you growing up?

Scott – Growing up we had those 90s years with the Buffalo Bills Jim Kelley, Bruce Smith, Irving Thomas.  Those guys were gods.  After I started doing some research and you get older, and you start finding out about people a guy Named Pete Metzelaars. He was a tight end for the Bills during that superbowl stretch and yes, I know they lost all 4 but they got there and they were fun.  Those years were fun.  My best friend growing up was my cousin and she actually grew up with cystic fibrosis and when she was growing up Pete Metzelaars really ran the cystic fibrosis foundation of western New York and would bring us over like I said we were really close she lived with us for a couple of years he would bring her to his house and do a lot of events.  Seeing that and how much influence they had on so many kids and how much time they spent on so many kids that didn’t have the advantages that he had.  Then I grow up to find out that Pete Metzelaars was a division 3 football player.  He played D3 ball so looking back you look up to the stars you look up to Jim Kelley and Therman Thomas but then you find out more about the Pete Metzelaars of the world that never went to a pro bowl but those are the guys that stick in your heart. 

Dustin – That fibrosis thing is touching to me because I battle with muscular dystrophy.  I know what it’s like to have tough times. 

Scott – Sure.

Dustin – Jim Kelley was always a good guy growing up because I appreciate after all the things he went through.  He battled cancer 4 times. 

Scott – Seeing what guys do off the field then you find out about character. 

Dustin – There’s some good people out there. 

Scott – There is.

Dustin – Just gotta look for the right ones.

Scott – Absolutely

Dustin – How were you asked to be a head coach for Heidelberg?

Scott – You want the whole story?

Dustin – Yeah.

Scott – I was defensive coordinator for a long time.  Started getting some calls at other schools that wanted to talk to me about their head coaching positions.  I was actually at another head coaching interview.  The interview started at 11 am and I find out at 11pm as I’m sitting at an Applebee’s that Mike Halut took the position in Toledo.  He called me and said Scott I’m going to take the position in Toledo with Jason and I went great. Holy crap.  Me and Matt talked and think you’re the right guy for the job.  Oh crap I’m actually in somewhere else in an interview in about 12 hours so I called the AD the next morning and I go Matt, I know you know I’m at an interview right now but I want to be the head coach of Heidelberg.  Matt Palm is actually the head baseball coach at Findlay right now really likes to mess with me for what felt like two hours I’m sure it was two seconds he goes well I talked to the president, and we are unofficially offering you the job.  I go that’s fantastic I unofficially accept.  But the school that I was at already paid for me to be out there I’m sitting in a hotel room they paid for I gotta do the interview.  So I told Matt I’m gonna go on this interview I absolutely killed it because I didn’t have anything to lose.   I knew I wasn’t gonna take the job.  I absolutely killed it they offered me the job before I left.  I go well let me think about it.  I get back the next day and the rest is history. 

Elaine – They’re gonna watch this and be like dang it. 

Scott – Who knows, but it was a very wild 24 hours there in my life or families lives. 

Dustin – Just because you work at Heidelberg do you still support Tiffin University?

Scott – Oh yeah. 

Dustin – You guys don’t play each other?

Scott – No.  We actually do play each other in JV next weekend.  Chris their head coach does an amazing job and Gary before him did a great job.  I have nothing but respect for that program and that staff I think they do a great job and it goes back to a rising tide brings all ships up.  Or whatever that parable is.  The better they do the more press the more love Tiffin as a community gets.  The better we do and it brings everyone up you know.  Just the success they’ve had the success we’ve had same thing with Calvert and Columbian you know this is a pocket a tiny little pocket in Seneca county from great football from college to high school.  So I love to see them do well and I’m excited about watching them through the future. 

Dustin – So have you’re guys ever had a scrimmage with the University of Findlay.

Scott – No, no. I’ve tried but division 2 is not allowed to scrimmage.  It would work out so well with Tiffin being right there you know we could have a dual practice and everything but they’re not allowed. 

Dustin – I’ve never heard that

Scott – Yea every division has the same over arching rules but there are specifics for every division.

Dustin – That makes sense.  Do you have any pregame routines that you do before every game?

Scott – Um, ya know not really.  I do, it’s probably not good, but I do take a 5 hour energy before each game.  It’s probably not good and my cardiologist definitely doesn’t think it’s good.  But you know I hate pre-game.  I hate pre-game I hate every second of pre-game my anxiety my nerves are at a 12 but I gotta act like they’re at a 3 because if I’m at a 12 the kids are gonna be at a 15.  So I have to keep myself, at least my outward face, calm collected but man I hate that one hour before the game. 

Dustin – So you’re probably like come on lets get to the game.

Scott – Yeah.  You’re huggin guys you’re telling them that you love them, I can’t wait to watch you play today.  We’re gonna have some fun but in the back of my mind I’m going through every situation that could possibly happen and how it can go wrong.

Dustin – Meeting today you seem like you’re a really good coach.

Scott – I appreciate that.  I think I am but you got one of my players sitting in here you can ask him. 

Dustin – Is he a good coach?

Player – He’s pretty damn good.

Scott – Thanks Joey.  I’ll give you that 20 bucks later.  

Dustin – What position do you play?

Player – Wide receiver.

Dustin – That’s a tough position

Player – Yeah, yeah.

Dustin – It’s rewarding too. I love your hat and your shirt.

Scott – I have my GA coming over right now. I got you a hat and a t-shirt. 

Dustin – I’m going to the University of Findlay game so maybe I’ll come see Heidelberg sometime. 

Scott – I would love it.  The northwest Ohio bowl is next month on the 17th.  Ohio Northern is coming over here and playing at night.  So that will be a fun one. 

Dustin – Can’t go to that one I’ll be in Cincinnati for Octoberfest.  Maybe some other game. 

Scott – We’ll get you back for another game then.

Dustin – Do you have any superstitions?

Scott – Not really.  I do wear the same undershirt for every game that’s more of we had a player pass away 2 years ago Curtis Halbit and his mom made me a shirt so that’s what I wear for my undershirt. 

Dustin – That’s terrible.  What happened?

Scott – It was a tragic accident we were playing the spring season in covid it was right between our week two and week three game Saturday night he got in a tragic ATV accident.  It was just a horrible thing.  Alcohol wasn’t involved and it was just a freak accident.  It was the worst time of my life but it wasn’t about me it was the worst time for our entire program.  Just dealing with that in a season that was so shocking it was something I wouldn’t pray on my worst enemy.  It was an absolute nightmare and a but in tragedy you see the good in everything.  Every team and coach reached out an outpouring of love and support that was something you can only get through an absolute tragedy.  But he would have been a senior this year  and you can see the CH his initials.  So we break down to CH 49 every time.  That was his number.  We made CH stickers and no one is wearing the number 49 right now obviously.  We retired that through this year through when he would have graduated but again you learn the grief process. 

Dustin – It’s terrible because it makes me rethink Wayne Askins all over again. 

Elaine – I love how you incorporated his initials into champion. 

Scott – I love that.  I think it was really cool. 

Dustin – I hope you guys go out there and win him a championship this year. 

Scott – We’re gonna try there’s no question. 

Dustin – If you could have any superpower as a coach what would it be?

Scott – As a coach? I think it would be telepathy because I want to look at a guy and watch what he did on the field and you’re like what the hell was he thinking? Why did he do this? But if I had telepathy I could just get in his head and be like why did you do this?

Dustin – That’s what I was thinking. 

Scott – Ya know you watch practice or games and you’re like what the hell is this guy thinking?  And that’s half the time half my coaching. 

Elaine – I’ve always wanted to control time so just stop time and you could move everybody where they need to be. 

Scott – I’d go back in time to when I had hair.  It would be awesome. 

Dustin – I’m sure they’re going to cut some stuff out of our video I think.

Scott – What’s that really? We’ve given them nothing but gold. 

Dustin – What has been you most memorable game in your entire life?

Scott – Going back to Curtis it was the game after Curtis.  We were playing at Otterbine their head coach is a very good friend of mine Tim Dowell and he actually went through a similar tragedy the year before in 2019 so he was very accommodating.  And actually for the opening kick off which Curtis was on our starting kick off team his best friend brought out his jersey and we played the kick off with 10.  We had to give a couple minute break after that kick off because it was a very emotional time.  For all of us and their team too.  But that was absolutely I’ll never forget that specific play but that game in general. 

Dustin – I like how you’re so in depth with everything.

Scott – My wife’s going to yell at me but I can remember probably every single football play that I’ve called or coached the last 19 years but I can guarantee I forget to bring home what I was supposed to bring home from work to my wife. 

Dustin – I’m good at that stuff I’ve always been good at stats

Scott – And 90s trivia.  I could kill you at 90s music trivia I am a savant.  I am unbelievable but if you ask me how I got here right now or where I parked this morning I have no idea.

Dustin – Same thing with 80s music.  80s rock music

Scott – The hair metal

Elaine – We pumped up to hair metal on the way here. 

Scott – It’s just not my bag you know.  Give me the grunge metal. I was rocking pearl jam this morning. 

Dustin – I love pearl jam.

Scott – Oh yeah. 

Elaine – Well in the podcast we’ve added something else a fact of the week and this will lead into Dustin’s next question.  There is only one letter that does not appear in any state name.  What letter is it?

Scott – It’s gotta be z right?

Elaine – You’ll find a z in Arizona.  Anybody else? The x no, there’s two xs one in New Mexico and one in Texas.  There’s a j in New Jersey but you won’t find any state with the letter q in it. 

Scott – Ah q.  Always the outlier. 

Dustin – In Canada you’ve got Quebec. 

Elaine – Back to the podcast

Dustin – If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? 

Scott – I’ve always wanted to , I’m a history guy, a history major, I would absolutely love to get over to Europe especially Eastern Europe.  The Germany , Bavaria, Hungary, that line there.  There’s so much history and things like that.  I would absolutely love to see it. 

Dustin – If I could go anywhere in the world it would probably be Ireland because they love bars. 

Scott – I’ve heard. 

Dustin – And maybe Italy because I love Italian food. 

Scott – Yeah.  I’ve never been overseas. 

Dustin – What do you like to do in your free time?

Scott – The very little amount I have right now with having young kids my free time is dedicated to them.  Them and my family.  I don’t have much free time so when I do I have to dedicate it and be fully involved in their lives for the half hour I might get with them.  Right now my son’s playing 7th grade football I know you’re about to talk to coach Lutz or coach Lutz’s program for Columbian.  So I watch him play when I can. I had to miss a game last week and it breaks my heart but just being as much involved with them.  I’m a music nerd.  I love listening to music.  Covid kind of brought out some hobbies I hadn’t done in a while.  But mostly just dedicated to my kids. 

Dustin – I like to do artwork like engraving and make t-shirts.  Maybe I’ll have to give you the website so you can look at some of my shirts.  

Scott – Make me a design

Dustin – I can just ask me for whatever you want and have John text me and I can make it. 

Elaine – I will throw in hear that Dustin, if you’ve seen any of his podcasts always has a final question for every person he interviews 

Dustin – This might be the toughest question you’ve ever answered.  Do you consider a hot dog a sandwich. 

Scott – No. Hot dogs are so on the next level.  Like a sandwich it’s just calling a hot dog a sandwich is disrespect to a hot dog.

Dustin – A hot dog’s like a pizza on steroids

Scott – I love hot dogs and its just a disservice to call them a sandwich

Dustin – You can put anything on a hot dog

Scott – That’s what I’m saying

Dustin – You could even have a hot dog with dessert but that would probably be gross.

Scott – That’s gross. 

Elaine – Well thank you so much

Dustin – Before we go do you mind taking a picture 

Scott – Of course.  I was going to ask you to do the same. 

Dustin – I’m glad I got to meet you.

Scott – It was great meeting you I’m so glad you got a chance to come down

Dustin – Maybe I’ll see you some other time

Scott – I hope so buddy.  Let me know when you’re in Tiffin and I’ll let you know when I’m over in Findlay. 

Dustin – I can’t wait to meet Jud.

Scott – Judd, you know what , I wouldn’t be so excited about meeting Jud.  He’s just he’s not a good person.  Obviously I’m a lot better looking and you’re not going to like talking to him as much as you liked talking to me. 

Dustin – And he’s a friend of John’s too.

Scott – I’m just playing Jud’s amazing. 

Dustin – Him and John are friends too.

Scott – Myself and Judd are good friends too.  Coaches gotta stay tight. 

Dustin – I would have guessed you were 36. 

Scott – You guess I was 36.  I appreciate that.  If I take off my hat it looks a lot older.  41 I still act like a 24 year old.  I feel like a 74 year old. 


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