Coach's Corner By Jim Render
Many times, a good story is changed or altered by an actual eyewitness’ account of the facts. I’ve been told that we have living in Upper St. Clair, soccer moms, tennis moms, swimming moms, softball moms, basketball moms, and football moms who get tired of driving kids to practice, personal trainers, and games. There are even rumors of a mom who wore out two SUVs and a mini-van. It is no wonder that pickup trucks are now being designed with women in mind. For those of you who sympathize with the hectic kid schedule, including time spent on your cell phone or iPad organizing car pools or caravans, I have a story for you. My featured former player is a USC Hall of Fame multi-sport athlete by the name of Scott Freund.
Don and Fran Freund moved their family to Upper St. Clair from Cleveland when Scott was in first grade. In descending order, the Freund siblings include Mike, Craig, Chris, Scott, and Katie. All were active in sports and other activities, and all five were middle school-age or younger when they first arrived to USC. They participated in many USC recreation programs, as well as various USCAA and School District sports teams.
In the summer months, Scott recalls that he went to soccer, basketball, and baseball practices, followed by his mom taking all five kids to the tennis courts where she would hit a bucket of balls to each of them. After tennis, she would drive them to the old YMCA outdoor swimming pool for a few hours of swim and playtime, followed by getting snow cones for the ride home. When they start a Hall of Fame for supportive moms of active USC athletes, Fran will be a charter member! It should be noted that Mike (USC Class of 1981) was voted the outstanding senior athlete. Chris (USC Class of 1985) set numerous softball records that were broken by Katie (USC Class of 1989). Katie was the outstanding senior female athlete in her class, having competed in basketball, tennis, and softball.
As for Scott (USC Class of 1987), he is probably the most versatile multi-sport athlete in the history of USCHS. He received 11 varsity letters in his four years of high school, including four in tennis, three in soccer, two in basketball, and two in football, earning four letters each in his junior and senior years.
I recruited Scott to play football his junior and senior years because of a punting and kicking exhibition he put on in one of my physical education classes. His soccer coach, the late great Joe DePalma, gave his permission for Scott to play both sports during the fall season. We only used Scott in kicking situations, so it was a win-win for everybody. In fact, on one day, Scott kicked the winning goal in a soccer game and that night he kicked the game’s winning points in a football playoff game versus Connellsville. The kick was one of four game-winning kicks during that football season, including victories over Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Butler. Maybe I should have spent more time recruiting boys (and girls) to participate in varsity competition who excelled at other sports.
Scott was not just a team member; he was a starter for three years in soccer, two years in basketball, and all four years in tennis, being named captain of the basketball and tennis teams his senior year. His tennis coach, Rich Saccani, recalls that Scott was “an intense competitor who always exhibited pride in being a Panther. He never wanted to let his team, school, or family down.”
Including team accomplishments, Scott played on the first USC basketball team to win a playoff game, and was part of three WPIAL individual and team championships, three WPIAL runner ups, one PIAA runner up, and one PIAA third place.
Not only was Scott a superior athlete, he excelled academically. He was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated with a 3.86 GPA, ranking 24th in a class of 373. One last interesting fact from his school days in Upper St. Clair is that from Kindergarten through 12th grade, Scott had perfect attendance! Regarding quality and quantity, this record is, most likely, unmatched.
Following high school graduation, Scott enrolled at Virginia Tech. While at Tech, he played on the football team in various special teams situations all four years. He earned his letter and was a member of the school’s “Winners Circle” his senior year. One of his teammates at both Upper St. Clair and Virginia Tech is another USC athlete Hall of Fame member, Nick Cullen. Together they were named co-winners of the USCHS Athlete of the Year Award in 1987. Nick had this to say about his friend and teammate: “I can’t think of a more deserving USC athlete who embodied the spirit of USC than Scott. With such a tremendous desire and will to be the best, his work ethic was, and continues to be, top notch. Always a leader on the field and in the classroom, Scott is the single greatest competitor I have had the pleasure to compete and play with in all my years. Regardless of which sport, Scott would by my first pick as a teammate because I know he would push us to the top.” What tremendous praise from a guy who knows what it takes to succeed. (See the article on Nick Cullen on pages 16–17 in UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY’s winter 2015 edition).
Scott graduated from Virginia Tech in 1991 with a degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in engineering science and mechanics. He was on the athletic director’s honor roll and dean’s list. After graduating from Tech, Scott wrote a children’s book, Rise of the Hokie Nation, as a fundraiser for the school’s athletic department. An appreciation for what others have done for him is found in the dedication page he included at the end of the book. After mentioning his family, he specifically thanked his high school coaches for the prominent impact they had on his life.
Following his college experience, he began working in Pittsburgh as a manufacturing representative in technical sales. In 1996, at the urging of a friend and former teammate, he moved to Bethesda, Maryland, where he began his private client career as an investment manager for Wheat First Butcher Singer (now Wells Fargo Advisors). In 1999, Scott moved to Alexandria, Virginia, as a financial advisor, senior consultant for Morgan Stanley. He was one of the company’s first advisors to earn top awards offered by Investment Management Consultants Association. In 2003, he moved to Bank of America as a senior vice president and was responsible for coordinating a team of advisors to deliver comprehensive wealth management solutions to more than 800 of its largest private high net worth clients.
In July 2005, Scott grew tired of sales, believing he could better help clients through an advisory role. Founder and president of Family Office Research, Scott designed his company to provide objective advice and a higher level of customization and customer service for high net worth clients. He coordinates all aspects of wealth investments, trusts, estate and tax planning, and banking. His ability and self-confidence has made his company quite successful and it has had a positive impact on his clients’ lives. (Check out FamilyOfficeResearch.com.) Scott’s professional designations include Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), and Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS).
Scott has often said that growing up in Upper St. Clair provided many opportunities to develop both athletically and scholastically. He enjoyed so many good times with his family, friends, and teammates. The family traditions continue in Bethesda. Scott and his wife, Emily, were married in 1998. They have four children: Hanna (18), who will attend Ole Miss this fall; Morgan (17); Cameron (15); and Cade (11). Like their father, they have each played a variety of sports. Scott makes time to help coach soccer and basketball for his kids’ teams.
As for Scott’s own athletic achievements as he explodes through middle age, he is now competing in paddle tennis and is a three-time West Penn Open champion, a four-time Maryland State champion, a four-time Delaware State champion, and a ten-time Congressional Country Club defending club champion. As for conventional tennis, he also won the club championship six times through a combination of doubles and singles play. From friends’ first-hand experiences, you also do not want to play him in golf. Many former teammates and country club members will attest to his ability on the course.
In the little spare time he has, Scott serves on the executive committee of the DC Touchdown Club. Among other things, this organization is the founder and producer of the Military Bowl football game held annually at the Naval Academy Stadium, The Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Proud coaches like to boast when their players make a difference on and off the field. Is it OK that I boast?