Scott Abell enters his third season on the Wildcat sideline after being named the program’s 28th head coach in January 2018.
In just his second season at the helm, Abell led the Wildcats to its best season in nearly two decades, guiding the team to an 8-4 finish, recording the most FCS wins in program history along the way (6).
In his first season, 2018, Abell’s offense ran away from the competition, but the 2019 ‘Cats featured a balanced attack, ranking among the top FCS programs nationally in rushing (2nd), total defense (4th), and led the nation in third down percentage.
In year two, Coach Abell’s squad earned eight All-PFL selections, including three first team honorees. Among those first teamers was Davidson’s all-time leading rusher, Wesley Dugger. Dugger reset the program’s rushing benchmark in just his third season, another 1,000-yard season, his third in as many tries. He also set the single season touchdown record, rushing for 22 and led the nation in scoring (12.0 PPG).
Additionally, four ‘Cats earned Academic All-PFL honors including Ethan Steinbacher, a National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist, making him one of the top seniors academically in all divisions of the NCAA (FBS, FCS, DII and DIII).
Another important piece of Coach Abell’s culture is service and no one exemplified that more than 2020 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team honoree, George Hatalowich. Hatalowich, the fourth Wildcat to earn this honor and first under Abell, was honored at halftime of the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Hatalowich was instrumental in starting the Davidson chapter of Uplifting Athletes, work that will be carried on by future Wildcats for years to come.
In his first season at the helm, Abell led Davidson to its first winning record since 2007, directing the ‘Cats to a 6-5 mark that concluded with a heroic goal-line stand on the final play of the season to secure the winning campaign.
Coach Abell helped lead the Wildcat offense to NCAA FCS statistical championships in total offense (561.9) and rushing offense (442.9), while directing the ‘Cats to top-five statistical categories in third down conversion percentage, offensive red zone and scoring.
The 2018 Wildcats snapped a 17-game Pioneer Football League losing streak with a 40-35 road victory at Valparaiso and earned national attention for a 91-61 Thursday night shootout victory over Guilford.
Abell’s squad rewrote the NCAA FCS history books with a trip west to PFL power San Diego, steering Davidson to a 789-yard rushing performance, shattering a 30-year record set by Missouri State in 1998 (681). Four Wildcats rushed for over 150 yards including Dugger’s 231-yard output, the fifth-best single game rushing performance in Davidson football’s 117-year history.
The Wildcats reset 10 program records including rushing yards in a season (4765), rushing touchdowns (55) and scoring (494 points).
Prior to Davidson, Abell spent 10 seasons at NCAA Division III Washington & Lee University where he earned three Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championships in six seasons.
The Generals increased their yardage and points per game each season and set conference rushing records with Abell as offensive coordinator. He was promoted to head coach in 2012 and transformed the W&L offense into a national rushing powerhouse, leading the Division III in rushing in three of his last six seasons in Lexington. His 2015 squad went undefeated in the regular season, the first to do so in program history, and set records in total yards (5,439), rushing offense (4,773) and points scored (417).
Abell’s head coaching career started uphill in 1997 at Liberty High School, near Lynchburg, Va., where he turned an 0-10 program into district champions in three years. He moved to nearby Amherst High School, which had not brought home a state championship in a dozen years, and led teams to back-to-back state titles.
He played both football and baseball in high school, but his scholarship opportunity was in baseball at Longwood College. The Kansas City Royals drafted him to their minor league teams, where he spent two years – and hit a home run during his first at-bat – before turning to teaching and coaching football.
The Coach Abell File
Wife: Chrissie, Son: Porter (2017 UR Graduate), Daughter: Emily (High Point University Student)
BS in Physical Education & Health (Longwood, '92)
MA in Administration/Supervision (Lynchburg '07)
2018 - Present
Davidson (Head Coach)
2008 - 2017
Washington & Lee (Head Coach, 2012-2017; Offensive Coord., 2008-2011)
2002 - 2008
Amherst County HS (Head Coach & Offensive Coordinator)