This month’s mentor spotlight is Scott Nesbit, also known as “coach” because almost everyone at St. Olaf College calls him that. His mentee is Elky L. Ratliff, a junior at Central High School. Read below to learn more about “coach.”
At St. Olaf College, Scott is the Men’s and Women’s tennis coach. An equally important part of his job is teaching Physical Education classes. He teaches courses like tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, sports and games, racquet sports, and fly-fishing/fly-tying.
Scott grew up in suburban Minneapolis, MN. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he majored in History and minored in Coaching in Secondary Education. For the first five years after graduation, he taught junior high United States History and World Geography while coaching soccer and tennis. He and his wife eventually moved to Chicago so she could attend graduate school in Psychology. There, Scott was a part-time college tennis instructor and coach. He also had another job teaching tennis at indoor athletic clubs.
Scott knew that he really enjoyed teaching and coaching at the college level so he asked his boss (the athletic director) what was required to do this job full-time. His boss told him he needed to get a Master’s degree in Physical Education. After two years of hard work, Scott completed his Master’s degree. He was excited and ready to get a college coaching and teaching job. He sent out resumes and applications to many colleges but only got one interview. Sadly, he did not get the job so he went back to teaching tennis at indoor athletic clubs. A year later, he heard about an open tennis teaching and coaching position at St. Olaf College. Scott was hesitant to apply at first because his current job was going so well. However, his wife reminded him that his heart was really in teaching and coaching at the college level. So Scott applied, got an interview and got the job at St. Olaf!
Scott is now in his twenty-fifth year at St. Olaf and has been very happy there. He and his wife raised two daughters who both attended St. Olaf College. His eldest daughter graduated in 2012 as an English major. Upon graduation, she worked for an organization similar to Upward Bound. She worked as a coach for low-income high school juniors. The goal of the program was to help them get to and succeed in college. She helped the students with ACT test preparation, went with them to college fairs, and encouraged them to study hard in their current high school classes. This daughter is currently in graduate school studying English. His other daughter is a junior at St. Olaf studying Psychology. She sings in an awesome band and has a beautiful heart of serving others in need. Both of his daughters have been motivating factors for him becoming involved as an Upward Bound mentor.
Scott’s advice to Upward Bound students: “Take advantage of the help and support that UB offers. You have the benefit of being surrounded by caring people who want to help you. You have hard work ahead of you, but it will be worth it. You have made a wise decision to be in Upward Bound. Keep up the good stuff.”
An interesting fact about Scott is that he enjoys knitting.