UTAH UTES

Kenneth Scott: This Moment Was Everything To Me

Oct 6, 2022, 1:37 PM

SALT LAKE CITY- Former Utah wide receiver Kenneth Scott has been a part of some of the biggest moments in Utah football history, but coming back to his alma mater and performing at halftime during Homecoming Week might top them all.

Years after hanging up his cleats, Scott is one of the Utes’ best ambassadors- partially due to how he connected with the fan base during his playing days, and partially because of everything he gets his hands into. The accomplished receiver is now an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, rapper, and future Ted Talk guest while taking pride in his work as a father and husband.

Scott’s most recent stunt- performing at halftime with the Marching Utes was 10 months in the making, but also opened doors Scott says he never knew existed. Now, along with sharing what it took to put the show on and all the emotions that came with it, he’s also wanting to issue a call to action from all former Utah alums: get involved.

Showtime, Kenneth Scott

Scott ultimately fancies himself a showman and it’s hard to argue against it. It showed up every Saturday in the plays he made on the field, and now in his day-to-day life whether he’s giving a talk, playing with his daughters, or putting on a whole halftime show. Scott recalls that performing was always his first true passion, even before football.

“That was my dream,” Scott said. “Not too many people know, before there was a football field, there was a stage and as I was growing up, I always had a microphone in my hand in elementary school performing for crowds. I saw the picture on my mom’s Facebook of me holding a microphone in my hand and rapping in front of an audience in elementary. That was before football. It’s kind of crazy how everything is coming around full circle as far as the music and performing for people.”

So how did this Kenneth Scott halftime show get started? In some ways in 2019 with Scott’s first Utah football anthem he wrote and released titled “Rise Up”. Without the song becoming a fan favorite, there never would have been a demand for the halftime performance in the first place. Fast forward to around the time of the Pac-12 Championship game last year, and Scott says a few conversations on Twitter with fans about the idea really put things into motion. Not long after those conversations, Scott set to work to track down band director Brian Sproul and that’s when everything started to take shape.

“I slid in his DMs on Twitter and saw he was inactive for like years,” Scott said. “This isn’t going well. I went onto the university website, shot him an email, shot him a call and then from there- he’s so cool. He said, ‘lets see if we can work it’. I sent him the tracks to see if they could mix and match the drums and make it sound good with the band.”

Scott does not live in Salt Lake City, so it was days, weeks, and months of exchanging different tracks with Sproul to get the sound just right.

“My producer, AR- Anthony Ruiz, did a great job of incorporating that feeling so it could be translated easy if I ever wanted to do it with the band,” Scott said. “‘Go Crazy’ is the same type of influence that can hopefully be done in the stadium in the future. It was weekly follow ups, monthly follow ups- sending audio files back and forth. I remember when Brian sent me the band’s live version of what they would perform- I pulled over, pushed play on the drop box and started to play it. I’m sure people thought I was crazy because I was in there like I was performing it.”

The Kenneth Scott Halftime Show

There aren’t many former players who can say they had the opportunity to perform in front of their home crowd after their playing days are over, but Scott can. Sure, it’s a different kind of performance, but the high according to Scott is just as good.

“It’s similar, but it’s different,” Scott said. “When I’m on the field with my team, I’m on a team. I was kind of solo- like it’s my vocals. I’m still with a team with like the band and dancers, but it was more vocally I’m solo so people got to hear me and I can be the shining point and spotlight. Being on the field is kind of hard because the ball isn’t always going your way, but that moment for me was big.”

 

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The rush of experiencing something different than what he was used to from being a player is something Scott is still a little speechless over. The day was just a perfect culmination of everything that Scott has loved and enjoyed doing his entire life.

“I will never forget this moment, honestly, because before the game I felt like a band member,” Scott said. “I’m at rehearsal with them, I feel like a band member and then we get to the pregame and I lined up with the band. I’m usually the one running out of the tunnel seeing everybody, this time I’m seeing the team come on the field. The atmosphere of going out in front of 65,000-70,000 fans? And it’s your song playing? It’s what you created and thought about- I can’t put it into words. It was an amazing feeling.”

The “Normal” College Experience At 30

Scott just celebrated his 30th birthday a few weeks back and ironically got to experience college from a different lens through Homecoming Week. As part of the whole ramp up to the performance, Scott got connected with Utah’s Alumni Relations Office which led to doing a bunch of Homecoming activities Scott never got to do, meeting with different groups on campus including university president Taylor Randall, and even sitting in the MUSS.

“Kenneth reached out to our University Alumni Instagram wanting to get more involved with our office,” Associate Director of Student Philanthropy and Engagement, Brandi Lavoie said. “One of our Board of Governors members, Jacob Perkin, had the idea to get former football players to come and sit in the MUSS and the student section. Get that MUSS experience that they don’t get when they are on the field.”

Scott says he had his eyes opened by the experience. He had no idea there was so much to be involved in for students who aren’t athletes as well as ways to stay connected to the university after graduation. Scott hopes his experience will encourage other alums- athlete or not to get more involved with the University of Utah.

“Being in the MUSS, going from being the one hyping the MUSS up, to now I’m in the MUSS hyping the team up. That was crazy perspective,” Scott said. “On top of that, they hooked me up with Song Fest to be part of the Greek Life. I was never involved in that, and being a part of it, seeing how that dynamic is- that was the best experience. I was also part of the Black Alumni Club- I didn’t know there were that many Black people here at first to be honest with you. I was talking with those guys and ladies of maybe in the future being a board member on the Black Alumni Association and connecting with the HBCU partnership that we just started.”

“It was dope to be a part of everything that is outside of sports,” Scott continued. “It brought me back to- why doesn’t athletics bring more attention to outside of sports? I feel since I’ve had this perspective and experience, that we need to provide these athletes more perspective to that because we are just in this little box. Then when we are done playing it’s a hard transition, but I feel like if we are able to expand and meet other people, it would allow those networks to be broader and allow us to be agile to do the different things we want to do.”

Director of Special Projects and Outreach, Bethany Hardwig says the best part of her and Brandi’s jobs in the Alumni Relations Office is there is no one they aren’t connected to, and they hope Scott’s experience will go a long way to having other Utah alumni wanting to come back and be part of the community.

“One of my favorite things about working in the Office of Alumni Relations is that there is nowhere on the campus or off that we don’t have access to the current student, prospective student, or alumni,” Hardwig said. “I think it’s important to acknowledge the access our office does have because we aren’t limited to a college, school, or sport team- our job is connecting and creating community for our students. There isn’t really a limit to what we can do, or how we can help.”

“They can reach out to anybody on our staff,” Lavoie continued. “I think Bethany and I are always happy to facilitate any of these conversations, but the cool thing we do in our office, is that we are excited to engage any alum from-you graduated last year, to you graduated 25 years ago. I think it’s just about reaching out to our staff and letting us know how you want to be involved. We also have different clubs and communities throughout the country. Different states have different alumni communities that are organized and have fun events. Even if you don’t live in Utah or you aren’t able to schedule coming out here for a game or whatever the case may be, there are ways to get involved within your own state.”

Family On Three

Another favorite part of Scott’s experience building a halftime show, was how involved his family was. Scott got to see his wife, former Utah women’s basketball player Brittany Knighton have a moment to shine at the Fifty Years Forward Banquet the Friday before the game, celebrating the accomplishments of the Utes’ female student-athletes.

 

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“I can’t wait till I can bring back the little ones- Brooklyn and Kenley to be able to experience this,” Scott said. “It’s very important to me, that’s why I’m so strong in women’s sports. I remember when Brittany was playing basketball and there really weren’t too many fans there. I was still front row cheering every game. I just want to encourage everyone to continue pushing the women’s sports forward.”

Even Scott’s mom, Trish, was a big presence on the day. Trish unfortunately lost her battle with lupus in 2016, but she was a part of the latest “Moment of Loudness” collage that celebrates the Ute family who are no longer physically here.

“That was dope,” Scott said. “When I was performing- you know how big my mom was on music. Even though she wasn’t physically there, she was there. When I was performing on the field, I could just imagine how she would be rocking with me. That was special to me.”

Scott is also appreciative of his host family whom he’s maintained a special relationship with long after he stopped being a student-athlete at Utah. To this day they, along with his many teammates are heavily involved in Scott’s life and were there to love and support him on his big day.

 

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“Everybody was there,” Scott said. “The Wiseman’s were there- they are my family. They have been there through every second, and every range of emotion with me. They were there when I got the call my mother had passed away, they were there when I needed a home because when my mother passed, I didn’t have a home. They opened their house to where I could live with them. They were there when Brooklyn was first born. They flew all the way out to Oregon. They flew out to Houston to see Kenley. Everybody that was supposed to be there in that moment was there. My guy Brandon was there front row. Lucky Radley was at the game and Brittany is like one of the harshest critics ever, but for her to experience that moment and get out of her shell- that was amazing. This moment was everything to me.”

 

 

 

 

 

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