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Beloved booster remembered for his tenacity, generosity

Famed booster, who helped spearhead several large Costa Mesa school projects and has stadium in his name, died Saturday. He was 85.

May 19, 2011|By Steve Virgen, steve.virgen@latimes.com
  • Jim Scott smiles as he is honored at halftime of the first football game to be played at his namesake stadium, the Jim Scott Stadium at Estancia High School. Scott is a co-founder of the group Costa Mesa United, which spent years raising money to have the stadium built.
Jim Scott smiles as he is honored at halftime of the first… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — Jim Scott, a passionate Costa Mesa schools booster who led projects that included a new football stadium at Estancia High School, died Saturday of heart failure, his son, Jim Scott Jr., said Thursday.

He was 85.

A private memorial service was held for Scott on Wednesday in Corona del Mar. A service for the community is still being planned, with no time or date confirmed yet, Scott Jr. said.

Scott was known for his tenacity and persistence in getting facilities constructed at Estancia and Costa Mesa high schools. Estancia's football stadium is named after him.

Scott was also known for many feats and for his affiliation with Estancia, many who knew him said. He was like just one of the Eagles.

Yet he was also described as a pit bull — tenacious, yet loveable.

All the traits that made him were instrumental in having Estancia's new stadium and a new 50-meter pool at Costa Mesa High.

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"He was a special guy," said Estancia Principal Kirk Bauermeister, a former baseball coach at Costa Mesa. "I'm not sure if anyone in our community has had more influence than him over the last 40 or 50 years."

Scott started his dream of having a football stadium built at Estancia and a pool at Costa Mesa in 1996. It was reported that he walked into then-Newport-Mesa Unified Supt. Robert Barbot's office and presented a $100 bill. Scott told Barbot it was the first contribution toward a new stadium at Estancia.

Over the next decade, Scott worked tirelessly gathering support in the community and generating funds to make his dream a reality.

Jim Scott Stadium was built in 2008. Costa Mesa High's pool opened this school year.

"His legacy was the beneficiary for all athletes in this city," said school board Trustee Katrina Foley, who worked with Scott on Costa Mesa United, a group that helped fundraise for the facilities. "He knew that a stadium and the pool would transform our high schools and our community.

"And they did. We'll miss him."

Scott began as an Estancia supporter, when his two daughters and two sons attended the Westside school on Placentia Avenue. He remained a booster even after his youngest graduated in 1981.

The Scott family established the Battle for the Bell series, the games between Estancia and Costa Mesa in football, boys' and girls' basketball, and baseball. The series' winners are treated to a free dinner at Newport Rib Co.

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