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As a former member of Dickinson’s lacrosse team, Scott Hackett-Dalgliesh ’07 (law & policy) pursued a career in college coaching, an exciting and rewarding job that he loves. Now as the head men’s lacrosse coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he works as teacher, mentor, counselor, administrator and coach, helping young men and the team as a whole to reach its fullest potential.
Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts education helped you along your career path?
Dickinson’s liberal-arts approach, more than anything, gave me a foundation to engage in critical thinking—to analyze complex and multifaceted situations, to view problems with a solution-based lens and to account for the context of a situation within a global context. Beyond the broad critical thinking aspects that I use daily, there are countless practical applications from my Dickinson education I use in my career. Although my title is coach, I wear many hats: teacher, mentor, counselor, career advisor, fundraiser, motivator, administrator and many more. I have used budgeting skills I learned from my Introduction to Business class. I constantly use the Socratic method when teaching. I learned this method in my law & policy courses taught by former Associate Professor of Political Science Doug Edlin, whose classes consisted almost entirely of thought-provoking questions.
What was your favorite activity/organization at Dickinson?
A real shocker considering lacrosse coaching is my profession, but my favorite organization at Dickinson was the men’s lacrosse team. Being part of a team is always special, but it was particularly true during my four years at Dickinson because of the great coaches, teammates, families and alumni involved in the program as well as the tremendous support we received from the administration and college community. Associate Athletic Director and Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Dave Webster ’88 created an atmosphere that helped our team members develop the pillars of character, leadership and community engagement. I am forever grateful and appreciative of everything that Dave Webster has done for me and my life. In many ways, he is like a second father, and there is no question that without Coach Webster and the men’s lacrosse program, my experience at Dickinson would have been very different. The men’s lacrosse team also provided me with lifelong friends, many who were in my wedding party and I in theirs.
What jumps out as a great memory from your time at Dickinson?
The service trip with the men’s lacrosse program to Plaquemines Parish just outside of New Orleans in Louisiana just months after Hurricane Katrina. Sleeping on cots, we lived under a giant tent set up by the military and the Red Cross. During the day, we went to various sites to help with clean-up and recovery efforts. I will never forget how gracious and welcoming the people of Plaquemines Parish were to us despite most of them having lost everything. Many of the people we helped hosted us in one of the few local buildings still standing for a Louisiana seafood boil. The fact that these people who had lost just about everything and were trying to rebuild their lives showered us with crabs, crawfish, shrimp and more was humbling to say the least.
How do you stay involved with/support Dickinson? Why do you think it’s important?
Every year, my wife, Sarah Hackett-Dalgliesh ’07 and I make a gift to Dickinson College. It is a small way we can give back and show our support, especially since we don’t live close to Carlisle. It is our way to show our gratitude for all the great people we met at Dickinson, the lifelong memories that were created on campus and the impactful lessons we learned in the classroom. Dickinson as an institution and its culture created the environment to make that all possible. We choose to give and believe it is important because we want to see Dickinson and its students sustain and advance in all the tremendous outcomes it produces. It is so important to give back and pay it forward. Donor participation and generous large gifts made our experience possible, and those experiences for others are only possible with continued generosity of gifts large and small.
How did you get interested in your work, and what about it excites you most?
I was a law & policy major and had done internships on Capitol Hill for a political action committee, at the state attorney’s office in Maryland and for a small law firm. Those experiences taught me that I didn’t want to be a lawyer. As senior year at Dickinson was coming to a close, I wasn’t sure what line of work I wanted to pursue. Reflecting on my experiences during my first 3 and 1/2 years at Dickinson, I began to realize that, through having such a rewarding and formative experience as a student-athlete, I wanted to get into college coaching. I feel very fortunate to have found a career I love as soon as I graduated. The position of coaching is always exciting—helping young men to become the best version of themselves, the thrill of competition, constantly tweaking and improving the process as you strive to help the team reach its fullest potential, constant new challenges that arise, building and shaping a unique culture and much more.
What does your current work entail?
As of a few months ago, I became the head coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for men’s lacrosse. My position requires that I am fluent in several different roles—most importantly, teaching. Whether it be teaching leadership skills, lacrosse techniques or life lessons, this line of work requires relentless teaching. It also entails being a mentor, counselor and career advisor. Many times, student-athletes face daunting personal, health or family issues or seek advice on what paths to pursue, so lending an ear and helping to connect them with the appropriate resources if necessary are constants. Another major aspect of my position is fundraising and alumni relations. This includes cultivating relationships, maintaining a sense of connection between alumni and the program, and producing recognition and appreciation of gifts. I also act as an administrator, whether it be as a member of the diversity and inclusion committee for student life on campus, managing and organizing the scheduling of practices, travel, games and meetings or making sure we are compliant with NCAA and Liberty League rules and regulations. Another huge aspect of my work is recruiting, which entails evaluating and assessing talent and fit, developing relationships with prospective student-athletes and their families, outreach to high school and club coaches, educating prospects about RPI and our program and shepherding them through the admissions process. Last but certainly not least is being a motivator and coach. Learning how to motivate individuals and the greater team is part art and part science, but something that I enjoy thoroughly and presents constant challenges. Making coaching adjustments schematically and with the line-up is also an exciting part of the work I do.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
The most challenging part of my work is that you can only help those who want to be helped, and, unfortunately at times, young men are resistant to seeking or receiving help from others. But this challenge presents opportunities for how to reach a young man, and, although it can be frustrating at times, it can also be tremendously rewarding when a young man turns the corner, so to speak.
What comes to mind as something unforgettable that you’ve done since you graduated?
I got to ride in the back of a Vermont State Police Officer’s car the night I got married! Fortunately, not for any reason that most people end up in the back of a police car. Long story short, there was a mix up with our transportation from the after-festivities to where we were staying outside of town. I was outside on the phone working on a solution, and there happened to be a Vermont State Police Officer nearby who overheard part of the conversation and offered us a ride. Who needs a limo when you can ride in the back of a Vermont State Police Officer’s car!
If you could have dinner with anyone famous, living or dead, who would it be?
Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone. I loved reading about them and their adventures when I was a little kid.
You just built a time machine: where and when do you go?
Back to the Centennial Conference lacrosse playoffs to re-write history and beat Gettysburg!
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
To have beaten Gettysburg during my lacrosse career at Dickinson! They were the only team in the conference we didn’t beat during my playing career. Fortunately, that trend has not continued!
Published March 6, 2019