Scott Knight isn’t the type to sit back and relax.
“I gotta be on the go — I can’t be still for more than an hour,” the 68-year-old said last week. “I grew up on a farm, and you were always moving, working, learning.”
For most of his life, Knight has put that boundless energy toward teaching and coaching. And on Dec. 6, the former Stanwood High School teacher and coach was inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame at the National Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. He is the first Washington state coach to earn the honor.
“When I got the call, I was speechless,” said Knight, who was inducted along with two coaches from Arizona and one from Pennsylvania. “I coach because I love the kids. I don’t coach to get into a hall of fame. I coach because I feel I have some life lessons to teach kids.”
Knight has logged 49 years of coaching baseball in Washington state, including in Stanwood where he is the Traffic Safety Coordinator for the Stanwood-Camano School District.
He also coached at West Valley in Spokane, Rosalia and Sedro-Woolley. Knight's 1986 Rosalia team won the state championship, the 1985 team captured third place state and the 1980 squad took fifth place state. In 1998, his Stanwood team finished seventh in state, the program’s last state appearance.
“Baseball has taken me all over the world and introduced me to a lot of great people,” Knight said.
As part of USA Baseball, he was selected as a 2002 and 2003 USA Baseball Youth National Team Trials Coach and Task Force member with the 2003 team winning the 16-under world championship. Knight also was the head coach of the Washington Wranglers international traveling team which included 11 trips to Australia, two trips to the Netherlands, two trips to Cuba, two trips to China and one trip to Tennessee for the Southeastern Wood Bat Championships.
He continues to help coach the Mudville 9, a 18U club team in Seattle that has helped guide more than 100 athletes to college baseball programs.
“I was lucky enough to find baseball young in life,” Knight said.
As a kid growing up on a farm near Pullman, he was coached in Little League by Chuck “Bobo” Brayton, the winningest baseball coach in Washington State University history who led the Cougars for 33 seasons from 1962 to 1994.
“He instilled in me a love for the game,” said Knight, who would go on to play for Brayton at WSU as a walk-on until an injury sidelined his career.
After a short stint at law school in Colorado, Knight found his way back to Washington where he became a teacher.
“I’ve always been a teacher,” he said. “Coaching was just another way you can reach a lot of kids and teach them about life. Some students you can relate to better on the field or the court than in the classroom.”
Wherever Knight coached, good things happened.
“If you work hard as a coach — put in the time and effort — that will show to the players that if the coach is willing to put in the time and effort, I should, too,” he said. “Then they learn how to handle adversity, and that helps shape who you’ll become as an adult.”
Knight is a lifetime member of the Washington State Coaches Association where he has chaired the state hall of fame committee since 1994. He is an executive board member. He is a charter member of the National Coaches Association and 30-year member of the American Baseball Coaches Association. Knight was inducted into the Washington state hall of fame in 1993.
In 2003, he was awarded the Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award by the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association.
“I’ve been blessed with good assistant coaches, blessed with players that worked hard,” said Knight, who lives on Camano Island with his wife Julie, a reading specialist at Utsalady Elementary School for 29 years. They have two adult children, a daughter, Kate, and a son, Doug.
“And I’ve been blessed by working in great communities,” said Knight, recalling a community effort to rebuild the Stanwood baseball field in 1989. “I’m so appreciative of everyone.”