A man of wisdom is laid to rest

A man who influenced the lives of many, both on the field and in the classroom, has passed while leaving an impression of achievement to all. Frank Parker Scruggs Sr. died Oct. 18 at the age of 83. Scruggs was a mentor to athletes and students everywhere, especially to those of Florida A&M University. Likewise, he was personally acclaimed as a scholar and athlete as well.

While mentoring many, Scruggs reached a certain individual who credits his current status and achievements to him.

The head football coach of the FAMU Rattlers, Ruben Carter, said Scruggs has influenced him since he was a student at Stranahan High School in South Florida. Scruggs was the head football coach at Stranahan as well as an advisor to Carter.

“I think he played the role of mentorship, he placed an emphasis on more than just sports. He thought life was two dimensional, in the classroom and on the field,” Carter said.

Coach Carter said he learned many aspects of life from Scruggs that allowed him to prosper.

“He taught me persistence, most importantly, make sure you give all your effort as tough things don’t always last, but tough people do,” said Carter.

Scruggs was a strong advocate of determination and how far it can bring an individual. “He understood that athletes must be determined not only in the game of football, but in the game of life,” said Carter.

Scruggs is survived by his wife Frances, and his two sons Frank Jr. and Joshua David. Other family members who will cherish his memory include six grandchildren and several nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

Frank Scruggs Jr. knew the significance of what FAMU meant to his father. “FAMU was very special to him,” said Scruggs Jr. “It gave him a chance to provide to young students.”

Scruggs was a student athlete at FAMU where he earned his Masters Degree in Education. He was a prolific athlete and a member of student council. He was co-captain of the track team, the baseball team and the football team under legendary Coach Alonzo “Jake” Gaither.

“He played half-back, but was most likely known as a place kicker. He was once ranked third in the nation,” said Scruggs Jr.

His achievements were recognized in 1992 when he was inducted into the FAMU hall of fame.

With education in his background, Scruggs taught and coached at two South Florida high schools. First at Dillard High School, where he set several records and won a state championship in 1953. Then in 1968 he accepted the job at Stranahan High School, where he would come to mentor Coach Carter.

Known as Dean Scruggs at Stranahan, he bridged the gap between all races of students as he helped ease in desegregation for the first time in South Florida schools.

“Football is a medium for the cultivation of values, a way in which a mindset of winning both on and off the field is cultivated,” said Scruggs Jr.

Through this belief, Scruggs helped build an appreciation for success among his peers. “If you are successful, you can achieve whatever you want if you have the right attitude,” said Carter in reference to advice from Scruggs.

Scruggs’ cousin, Lorenzo Alexander, summed him up best when he said, “Frank was an influential person who dedicated his career to educate and develop youth and inspire them to become productive citizens.”

Scruggs Sr. was a key ingredient to the bright futures of the many who attended FAMU.

He helped bring the football program to prominence as a player, and started a new generation of Rattler football through his mentoring of Coach Carter. He was one of the first to administer, teach and coach a desegregated school. A man of mentorship, leadership and success, Frank Parker Scruggs Sr. will be in the hearts of many for time to come.

He will forever be enshrined with great respect among the community of the FAMU Rattlers. Said Scruggs Jr., “FAMU has their homecoming, but for my father this will be home-going.”

Contact Zak Kertesz at thefamuansports@hotmail.com