1997 USF Bulls: Scott McCready trades green and gold for black belts

USF WR Scott McCready (16) attempts to get past Jacksonville State LB Duriel Hardrick (31) durin a Sept. 2, 2000 game. (Times 2000)
USF WR Scott McCready (16) attempts to get past Jacksonville State LB Duriel Hardrick (31) durin a Sept. 2, 2000 game. (Times 2000)
Published Aug. 19, 2017

More than two decades after the University of Tampa played its last game, the city returned to the Saturday football stratosphere when USF played its inaugural contest on Sept. 6, 1997. That 80-3 rout of Kentucky Wesleyan, before a Houlihan's Stadium crowd of 49,212, occurred nearly two years to the day after the Florida Board of Regents officially endorsed a football program for USF. In observance of the 20-year anniversary of that ground-breaking contest, the Tampa Bay Times is looking back at the first Bulls' football team.

For Scott McCready, lanky King High and USF receiver in a previous life, domesticity comes in a perpetual twins formation.

Now living back in his native England, in the tiny Oxfordshire village of Freeland, McCready has 14-year-old boys with his first wife, and a 6-year-old boy and girl with current wife Vanessa. The couple also has a 5-year-old daughter.

RELATED: Revisiting the inaugural 1997 USF Bulls football roster

"It's a bit crazy isn't it, but I don't know any different really," McCready, 40, said in a recent Facebook conversation. "My house is constantly a crazy house."

Not that life outside the house has been especially dull.

RELATED: Cory Porter regains passion for game 10,000 miles away

McCready, still tied for 10th on USF's career touchdown catches list (eight), earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 2001 Patriots' practice squad, and later became NFL Europe's all-time leading European receiver. Then his aerial game really took off.

RELATED: Jay Mize, a 'relentless, fearless' safety and entrepreneur

After his football career ended, McCready moved to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, learned to fly planes and piloted commercially for seven years (he still has a commercial and private license). He also took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu and today teaches the martial art.

RELATED: Keith Williams proof it's never too late to finish degree

"There are lots of Brazilian black belts there (in the UAE) teaching in the military and the schools," said McCready, who also works as an electrical engineer. "The black belts would get together to train and I'd go get beaten up by them."

Standing in bold contrast to those cosmopolitan pursuits is Freeland, which features one pub, one church and one village hall. McCready says he loves the tranquility, which is a relative term when raising two sets of twins.

RELATED: Charlie Jackson navigates life's speed bumps