Morgan Scalley Has To Rebuild His Reputation

Jul 4, 2020, 4:59 PM | Updated: 8:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – While Utah has reinstated Morgan Scalley, there is still a lot to do to repair the image of the defensive coordinator. Scalley was punished with his reduction in pay and no longer has the handshake deal to be the next head coach at the University of Utah.

More money and being the future Ute head coach still very much could be in the works if Scalley proves to be a good coach, which he has been while being on the Utah sideline for over a decade.

Just look at the results. Scalley has been in charge of some of the best defenses in the country and sent talent on that side of the ball to the NFL with six drafted this past year and 12 overall in his four years as the defensive coordinator.

His apology was very heartfelt, emotional, and sincere when speaking to the media and he deflected when asked about how he felt. He said it didn’t matter how he was feeling but rather those he offended. Scalley is owning up to what he did in the past and that is the first step.

Scalley Needs To Rebuild His Credibility

Now, Scalley faces a new challenge and it involves repairing his image and reputation. He admitted to using a racial slur in a text message back in 2013 and that is what led to an investigation over the past few weeks, but this could be the beginning of some hard questions he will be asked when going out on the recruiting trail.

Scalley has been a great recruiter for the Utes but his comments will be used against him by other schools going after the same players. There might be some high school players and families who do not want to send their kid to Utah over what Scalley said.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham believes that Scalley will continue to be a great recruiter to bring in talent that Utah needs to win the Pac-12, but he acknowledged the job will now be tougher.

“Recruiting in it of itself is a big challenge, it’s competitive, constantly trying to dispel this and things that are out there and sell your program,” Whittingham said. “Morgan has proven to be an outstanding recruiter through the years. He’s gonna have to work extra hard to get some of that trust back, but I have no doubt that that’ll happen in time.”

KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell is not as confident that Scalley can go back to business as usual. His credibility and reputation have taken a big hit, especially to minority football players. It will take some time to build that back up as a football coach and recruiter.

“You know what is eating him up right now?” Mitchell asked rhetorically. “More than anything, more than money but he has zero credibility with everybody. That is hard that in a very short period of time, in one moment, in one sentence, in one word it all goes kaput. 

“Trust is such a hard thing to gain and such an easy thing to lose. When that trust is gone it is hard to get it back. It is hard to be on the other side where you say, ‘I am trying so hard and you are not going to believe anything I say.’ That is not a comfortable place to be.”

Scalley is lucky to retain his job and particularly in the current social climate. He now has the opportunity to show that he is not the person he was in the text message from years ago.

What Is Scalley’s Future With Utah?

The contract extension and coach-in-waiting are gone. Now Scalley’s deal expires on January 31, 2021. The big question is if Whittingham and Utah athletics director Mark Harlan want to keep him around once his contract expires.

Scalley’s on-field success is undeniably good, which is why he was pegged to replace Whittingham in a few years. Now his future in Salt Lake City is a bit murkier. Odds are stacked against Scalley to get a new deal going forward that will be over a million per season and a multi-year contract.

“It probably is a slow build-up again,” Mitchell said. “I just don’t see him going through this year and everyone saying, ‘OK, great.’ But it will be, ‘eh… maybe we should go on another year [contract] and see how we are progressing.’ He is the kind of guy who will do whatever he has to do but he is in a tough spot when you have lost everyone’s trust.”

Utah’s image has certainly taken a hit by these comments and all that can be done is for Scalley to go above and beyond, work hard, be humble and show sincerity when his past behavior comes up when sitting in the living room of a recruit’s family because it will come up.

Scalley has to rebuild his reputation. Plain and simple.

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