Rising Star Spent Last Two Seasons as D-Line Coach at North Carolina
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss turned to a rising star in the college coaching ranks to mentor its defensive line, as head coach Hugh Freeze announced the hire of Tray Scott as assistant coach Sunday.
Scott, who spent one season on Freeze’s Ole Miss staff, will return to Oxford after serving the last two years as defensive line coach at North Carolina.
“We knew we had a star on our staff when Tray was with us as a graduate assistant, and we are thrilled to welcome him back,” Freeze said. “With the experience he has gained as a coach and recruiter since his first stint here, Tray will bring great energy and leadership to our defensive line and allow us to continue our success at that position.”
In his two seasons in Chapel Hill, Scott helped UNC reach back-to-back bowl games (2015 Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Baylor, 2016 Sun Bowl vs. Stanford) and the 2015 ACC Championship Game vs. Clemson.
Scott’s 2016 unit was especially effective in the red zone, ranking 35th nationally allowing opponents to score only 79.6 percent of the time. His defensive line also helped UNC rank top 50 nationally in scoring defense (24.9 ppg). Scott mentored defensive tackle Nazair Jones to All-ACC honors for the second straight year.
In his first year in Chapel Hill, Scott was part of a defensive staff that engineered the best turnaround in college football. Carolina was the nation’s most improved Power 5 defense, averaging 14.5 points fewer than the previous year, while also showing the most improvement from the previous year in pass defense efficiency. The Tar Heels led the ACC in interceptions, turnovers gained, turnover margin and passes defended en route to a record-setting 11-3 season and a berth in the ACC Championship Game and a No. 15 final ranking in both national polls.
Scott coached a young defensive line that accounted for 19 of the Tar Heels’ 23 sacks. Jones earned All-ACC honors, while end Mikey Bart posted a team-best 6.5 sacks.
Before moving to North Carolina, Scott served two seasons (2013-14) as the defensive line coach at UT Martin, an FCS team in the Ohio Valley Conference. He headed an aggressive Skyhawk defense that recorded more than 50 sacks and 160 tackles for loss during his tenure.
In 2013, Scott helped coach a defense that tallied 28 sacks and 36 quarterback hurries. He coached DJ Roberts, who earned All-OVC first team accolades after putting together his third straight season of at least 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
Before joining the Skyhawks, Scott spent one season as a defensive line graduate assistant at Ole Miss under Freeze.
In 2012, the Rebels posted a 7-6 record with a win over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama. Scott helped guide a swarming defense that ranked fourth in the country in tackles for loss (103), 11th in the country in sacks (38) and top 25 in rushing defense (129.3 ypg).
On Oct. 6, Ole Miss forced a season-high six turnovers (four fumbles, two interceptions) against a Texas A&M team that had only turned the ball over once in its first four games. The Rebels sacked future Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel four times and tallied 13 tackles for loss against the Aggies.
At Ole Miss, Scott worked directly with Issac Gross, a Freshman All-America and Freshman All-SEC defensive tackle. Gross registered 40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two quarterback hurries and one pass breakup.
Before Ole Miss, Scott coached with Freeze at Arkansas State for two seasons. The Red Wolves finished 2011 with a 10-3 mark and a perfect 8-0 record in the Sun Belt Conference. Arkansas State rode a nine-game winning streak into the GoDaddy.com Bowl that season, capturing the conference championship in the process.
At Arkansas State, Scott coached Brandon Joiner, the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Joiner ranked fourth in the nation with 13 sacks and was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Scott also served as a defensive graduate assistant at his alma mater, Arkansas Tech University, from fall 2008 through spring 2010. Coaching alongside Steve Mullins, he helped the Wonder Boys to a 9-3 overall record with a 6-2 Gulf South Conference mark in 2009.
As a player at Arkansas Tech, Scott was a four-year letterman from 2003-07. He helped Tech to a 24-8 record from 2004-06, including a 10-2 overall mark and a national playoff appearance in 2004.
Scott prepped at Crossett High School in his hometown of Crossett, Arkansas.
Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Arkansas Tech in 2008. He also received his master’s degree from Arkansas Tech in 2010. He is married to the former Sarah Fancher.
Scott’s Coaching Career:
2008-10 – Arkansas Tech – graduate assistant
2010-11 – Arkansas State – graduate assistant
2012 – Ole Miss – graduate assistant
2013-14 – UT Martin – defensive line
2015-16 – North Carolina – defensive line