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NORMAL - Galen Scott proved he could play linebacker through a distinguished four-year career at Illinois State.

Additional evidence that Scott also is proficient at coaching the position arrived Wednesday when the American Football Coaches Association named the Redbird linebackers coach the Division I-AA Assistant Coach of the Year.

"Obviously, I was surprised. I knew I got nominated, but I'm surprised I got it," Scott said Wednesday while on a recruiting trip to Florida. "It's a huge honor. It helps to have good players. Great players make you look like a good coach."

Scott was ISU's career tackles leader when his playing career ended in 2000. That record was broken by one of his players, linebacker Boomer Grigsby, on his way to the Kansas City Chiefs.

A Redbird assistant since 2001, Scott has coached first-team all-Gateway Conference linebackers the past four seasons in Grigsby (2002-04) and Cameron Siskowic (2005).

"The biggest thing with Galen, and anybody on the team would agree, is he holds a whole lot of respect with him being here (as a player), setting records and going through the process," Siskowic said. "He knows what he's talking about. Everything he says is motivational. He always says 'do the right thing and do everything 100 percent.'"

Scott is active in the Mount Moriah Baptist Church men's group and in Sunday School projects. He is involved with such programs as Men of Integrity, Transportation Ministry, Hope for Future, Save the Children and Key Life Ministry charities.

He serves as a volunteer counselor for the McLean County Juvenile Detention Center, and has given his time to Relay for Life, Special Olympics, St. Jude Children's Hospital and Easter Seals.

"Often times, the head coach receives much of the credit for his team's success," said AFCA executive director Grant Teaff. "Any head coach is only as good as his assistants. Much of an assistant coach's work is done behind the scenes. It is our pleasure to bring it to the forefront."

Winners of the Assistant Coach of the Year award will receive a plaque to commemorate the award and an educational stipend to the 2006 AFCA Convention or any other professional development clinic/convention of their choice.

They will be honored at the AFCA kickoff luncheon Jan. 9 in Dallas.

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