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Utah DC Morgan Scalley’s Childhood Friends Offer Thoughts On His Character

Morgan Scalley (#33 bottom row, second from left) poses with his best childhood friends for a football photo.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s defensive coordinator, and once thought head coach-in-waiting, Morgan Scalley, is currently being investigated for using a racial slur via a text message he sent to a recruit in 2013. His career is in jeopardy, a career he fought so hard to fulfill.

The vast majority of players that have since spoken on the subject have been adamant that Scalley is not a racist. However, as close as a player and coach can get, nothing will ever beat the bond of childhood friends.

This article represents a number of Scalley’s closest friends, those that have known him since they were four and five years old.

I believe, it is important that those who know him best have their voices be heard.

For the record, during my time as a punter for the Utes, I never witnessed Scalley using racial slurs.

 Neighbors Starting In 1984

Creighton Scott and Scalley have been friends for as long as they can remember.

“All of my siblings matched up in years with their siblings. I spent a lot of time in their house and he spent a lot of time at mine. He was always very talented, he was very smart and intelligent when it came to school.”

Scott and Scalley first met in 1984, when the Scott family moved into the same neighborhood as the Scalleys. They attended kindergarten together and soon became best friends. Their friendship grew as they traveled and ventured their way through middle school and high school. They both attended the University of Utah and were brothers in the Sigma Chi fraternity house.

“As kids, we double dated, I was on the first date with his wife, it was evident that something was going to work out there,” Scott said.

“He comes from a great family with the highest of morals and character, the Scalley’s know how much they mean to me. He was raised the right way.”

“My father had a stroke last November, he was the only friend that went up and saw him in the hospital which meant a lot to me,” Scott added.

“Morgan has always been intently and keenly aware of who he is and the surroundings. When Urban got here was when it changed from him, regarding his playing career at Utah and coaching after. Morgan saw great success as soon as Urban got here.”

– Creighton Scott

Morgan Scalley (pictured top row, third from left) enjoying the company of his closest childhood friends from when they all attended Highland High School in Salt Lake City.

“We Know Morgan and We Know That He Is Not Racist”

Jake Olson met Scalley when he was 8-years-old. They played on the same little league, Junior high, and High school football teams. They were even called upon to serve the same mission, the Munich, Germany mission as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Olson typed his thoughts on the situation Scalley faces in an email, quoted below.

“I think I speak for all of us (childhood friend group) when we first saw this story break – our hearts collectively sank. We know Morgan and we know that he is not racist. I can see how something like this can get taken out of context and can go viral. All of which contribute to my love/hate relationship with the internet.”

Our group of friends was a pretty good group at Highland and that group was better because Morgan was a part of it. Our high school football team at Highland High School was more diverse than you might think being a “Salt Lake East Bench” school. With a great group and mix of players from all walks of life, from Tonga, Samoa, and everywhere in between.”

I can’t say this enough. Morgan Scalley is not a racist. Did he make a mistake, yes.  Has he owned the mistake, yes.  I for one am excited for the next 20 years of Utah Football with Morgan Scalley being a part of it. I think of the lives he will shape over the next 20 years at the U and feel like there are a lot of people who 20 years from now will be able to say along with me that I am a better person because I know Morgan Scalley.”

Scalley is anything but what some people across the country see him to be.”

– Jake Olson

“Morgan Brought Us Closer To Other Cultures”

Jeremy Clegg is another individual that grew up with Scalley. The two played baseball and basketball as early as Clegg can remember. Although Clegg and Scalley did not grow up in the same neighborhood, they often found themselves on the same sports teams nonetheless.

“One thing Morgan has always been is consistent. He has always been a great example of working hard and making good decisions; whether that has been in sports, in school, spiritually, or just hanging out on the weekends.”

“One time, after my baby daughter died, Morgan left work late at night during two-a-days and visited my wife and me in the hospital. He just sat alone with us, talked with us, and cried with us for about an hour. He offered us sideline passes for the first game of the year. I will never forget how he was willing to think of others even though he was dead-tired, stressed about the season, and hadn’t been able to be with his family,” Clegg continued.

“When we played high school football at Highland together, we had a number of Polynesian teammates. If I am being honest, Morgan was the one friend that brought our friendship group closer to them.”

– Jeremy Clegg

Morgan Scalley (#33 bottom center) smiles for the camera alongside his best friends from his youth.

Always A Star Player, Always Humble

Andrew Jones has been friends with Scalley for 31 years. Jones reflects on the example Scalley has been for not only him but is children.

“Morgan has been my friend for 31 years. He was one of the first people I met when I moved into a new neighborhood, and he immediately made me feel welcome. He is the reason I met my wife. He has been the source of much of my cheering at Utah games. He is a true and loyal friend.”

Morgan’s dad was my very first football coach when I was 10 years old. He and Morgan came over to my house when I first moved in to see if I wanted to play football in the Fall. After I agreed, they welcomed me to our little league football team at a time when my family had been moving around a bit, and it had been difficult for me to find lasting friends.”

“He set an example of friendship and leadership before I even knew what those words meant.  Although Morgan was always the star of every football team I ever played on, he never exuded an arrogance or cockiness that you might expect. I remember one time our high school football team was at a summer training camp in Idaho and I embarrassed myself in front of the team. He was the one I talked to after the meeting and he made me feel less anxious and told me that all was well.”

“In a full-circle moment, my 11-year-old son (a huge Utah fan) and I recently saw Morgan. My son mentioned to Morgan that he was thinking about playing tackle football and I asked if he had any tips for a beginner. Morgan looked at my son and told him that all good players have the same qualities—they listen, they work hard, and they are respectful. As a parent, I appreciated this advice because these are qualities that anyone can develop; they don’t require talent and are applicable in athletics and beyond. My son left the conversation motivated and inspired—in essence, well-coached.”

“These are also characteristics that Morgan exemplifies. He listens and engages as a true friend, despite a grueling schedule and many demands on his time. He works extremely hard, dedicating himself for over two decades to Utah Football and to the craft of coaching. He is respectful and welcoming, hosting players and their families in his home and inspiring aspiring athletes like my son. My family and I are lucky to know him and his wonderful family, examples and service, responsibility and character in our lives and in our community.”

– Andrew Jones

Morgan Scalley Cares

Ryan Plewe has been friends with Scalley since childhood. He took the time to talk about the many ways Scalley makes those around him feel important and cared for.

“As someone who has known Morgan for 30 years now (since we were 10-years-old), I thought I’d share a few reasons why he is one of the best people I have ever known.

“Morgan was always one of the best players on all our little league and High School football teams, and yet he was never arrogant about it. He included everyone, looked out for everyone, and motivated everyone to try their best every weight lifting session, practice and game. He was always one of the hardest workers on the team and led by example in everything he did. Never asking anyone to do something he would not have done. This is why we voted him as one of our team captains…Because he was always someone we looked up to.”

“Because Morgan is also a man of great faith, at 19, he put his life on hold for 2 years to serve the Lord on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Germany. He was an incredible missionary and because of his love for the people and fellow missionaries, his honesty and his obedience was again asked to be a leader in his mission.”

“I could write for hours about the kind things Morgan has done for others throughout his entire life, but I’ll just share one more with you. Morgan got permission to give a couple of friends a tour of the football practice facility and we were all excited to see it. Upon arrival, he showed us to the cafeteria area and when we went to pay the lady for our dinner, Morgan said that he would cover the bill for all of us.  This was a simple act of kindness, but I think it reflects who Morgan really is. He is always wanting to help those around him whenever he can. He truly cares about people and is always trying to make other peoples’ lives better.”

– Ryan Plewe

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.

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