Marcus Scott said that he’s got his good days and his bad days of late, but the one thing he knows for sure is that much better days are ahead.
The Destrehan High School head football coach has been on the road to recovery from his Nov. 17 kidney transplant surgery. It took him away from the job he loves, working with his Wildcats, but it was very much a necessity – Scott estimated he was down to 10 percent kidney function by the time of the transplant, his condition creating a physically and mentally taxing battle.
He said this week he’s improving by the day.
“All in all, I’m improving,” Scott said. “I’ve been able to increase my walking distance … I went from being inside to being able to walk to the corner and back. I’m increasing it a little at a time. The main thing is just managing the pain, but it’s getting better.”
During his senior season at McNeese State, Scott learned he had kidney damage due to untreated high blood pressure. Ever since, he’s been battling reduced kidney function.
It’s been something he’s combated throughout his coaching career, and that hasn’t been easy.
“My energy level was affected,” Scott said. “There were times at practice I had to take a seat for a few minutes, things like that. I tried to use it as something – we always talk about being tough and overcoming adversity. We talk about how it doesn’t matter how you feel, you go out and do your job because it’s not about you, it’s about your team and everyone is depending on you to be at your best. I wanted to be an example for (the players).”
It was also something that wouldn’t get better unless he received a new kidney. He was on a waiting list for between two and three years, and eight different times he was called and notified to be on standby for a potential transplant. The ninth call was different, however – this one let him know he was the primary recipient if the organ checked out.
It did and Scott received the incredible news – his wait was over.
There was one tough hurdle to clear before his surgery, however. That call came one day before Destrehan’s first playoff game of the season, against visiting Belle Chasse.
Scott had long before met with his team to let them know the situation, that he could be called away into a potential absence at any time. Contingency plans were formed and ready to execute. Still, he badly wanted to be there for his team – it simply wouldn’t be possible for him to be on the sideline.
“It was very tough (to step away),” Scott said. “My coaching staff and I, we’re family. You become close, it’s much more than just go to work and go home. And with the kids, you spend so many hours together, those relationships develop into something bigger. It’s so tough to be away from them when it’s time to compete. The coaching staff did and outstanding job. The kids did a great job being mentally tough and hanging in there, blocking out the distractions. I hated to be a distraction, but it was unavoidable.”
Having undergone successful surgery, though, the prognosis going forward is excellent.
Just weeks after his kidney function was below 10 percent, Scott said it is at a normal level now. The transplant will not only prove life-saving, but life-changing for the positive as his quality of life should be much improved.
“I expect to feel like a different person, and I’m so thankful for that,” Scott said.
It’s been a year of many milestones for Scott, who has led the Destrehan program for the past four years.
He led Destrehan to the Division I non-select state championship in 2022, and along with it an undefeated season. He was chosen as the New Orleans Saints Prep Football Coach of the Year. Despite numerous graduating senior starters, Destrehan charged to another undefeated regular season and finished an 11-1 quarterfinalist, along the way extending what was a state-long winning streak to 25 games. He eclipsed the 100 career win mark as a prep head coach this season.
Despite all he was battling through, the Wildcats continued to do nothing but win on the football field, reflecting their coach’s strength in their play.
He has been nothing but proud of their effort, as well as that of his fellow coaches.
Scott is especially proud that the Wildcats success comes the right way.
“I’m so proud of how hard the kids played all season. They accomplished some amazing things,” Scott said. “We’re playing with kids in our attendance zone, kids who grew up around one another, competed against one another as kids but then come together at Destrehan. A lot of times, people go out and handpick their players, drive buses into other attendance zones and pick up players. We take great pride that we compete with kids from the east bank of St. Charles Parish.”