Arizona Football

Former Arizona Wildcats, Sunnyside star Scurlock running for sheriff in York County, S.C.


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Former Arizona and Sunnyside player Mike Scurlock is running as an independent to become the York County (S.C.) Sheriff (Scurlock for Sheriff photo)

Former University of Arizona and Sunnyside High School football player Mike Scurlock is running as an independent to become the York County (S.C.) Sheriff (Scurlock for Sheriff photo)

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A June 1996 Tucson Citizen article written after Mike Scurlock earned his bachelor degree at Arizona in Media Arts, had the headline: “With degree in hand, Scurlock sees life after pro football.”

Scurlock’s vision remains 20/20 with that in mind two decades after the story written by former columnist Corky Simpson. Scurlock announced this week that he is running for York County (S.C.) Sheriff as an Independent.

“If you want to have someone in a position that wants to make a change … I’m the person who needs to be in the position (as sheriff),” Scurlock told the Charlotte Observer.

Scurlock’s devotion to law enforcement is not all that surprising. He told the Observer, “I’ve grown up, pretty much my whole life, in law enforcement. It’s been in our family; it’s been in my blood.” He also was a member of Arizona’s lock-down Desert Swarm defense in the early 1990’s.

College football hall of famer Rob Waldrop, also a Desert Swarm member who won the Outland Trophy, is a law enforcement officer in southern California.

As a freshman at Arizona in 1991, Scurlock, playing as an inside linebacker, led the Wildcats with 8.5 tackles for lost yardage, 6.5 of which were sacks. In his senior season of 1994, Scurlock, shifting to cornerback, returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown against Cal. The play is Arizona’s third-longest interception in program history behind Chuck Cecil’s famous 100-yarder against ASU in 1986 and Mikal Smith’s 98-yard pick-six against ASU in 1998.

Scurlock, a fifth-round choice of the St. Louis Rams in 1995, played for the Rams from 1995 to 1998 and Carolina in 1999. His short stint as a Panther transformed his life. He remained in that area to be a high school coach and athletic director. He co-owned the business Architech Sports and Physical Therapy in Charlotte from 2001 to 2008.

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Mike Scurlock played for Dick Tomey at Arizona from 1991-94. Before that, he played three years as running back at Sunnyside High School for coach Terry Seward and one year at the same position at Cholla High School, under Gus Briscoe.

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The impetus for Scurlock to make something of himself beyond his football career came from former Arizona linebacker Byron Evans, according to Simpson’s article. Evans’ NFL experience with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1987 to 1994 came to an abrupt end because of a knee injury about the same time Scurlock was about to embark on his professional career.

“He was a great player and is a great person,” Scurlock told Simpson. “I know he would like to have continued to compete in the NFL, but it’s the nature of this business that a career can be cut short, by injury, at any time. That’s why it is so important to get that college degree.

“The money is good in professional sports, everybody knows that. But it doesn’t last forever, and you must use it merely as a steppingstone – make as much as you can, but be sure you invest it and have plans for your future, and your family’s future.”

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Scurlock’s family of four, including his wife of 23 years Michaela, a successful real estate broker, have reaped the benefits of his desire for prosperity after football. A turning point toward his service in law enforcement happened when he came face to face with a burglar at his home in 2008.

“I came face to face with him — chased him out of the house,” Scurlock told WCNC-TV. “I decided at that point in time that I wanted to make a difference in the community.”

He joined the York County Sheriff’s Office shortly thereafter as a reserve deputy, and later a full-time officer. He has served as a deputy, public information officer and crime prevention officer in the sheriff’s office.

Scurlock also helped start “The Choice is Yours,” an outreach program for at-risk youth that partners with youth pastors, community members, businesses, current and former NFL players, and volunteers.

He is running as an independent because he believes fighting crime is beyond politics.

The burglar he stopped near his family’s home “didn’t care if I was black, he didn’t care if I was white, he didn’t care if I was purple, he didn’t care if I was Democrat, he didn’t care if I was Republican,” Scurlock told the Charlotte Observer. “All he had was an agenda.”

In the interview with Simpson 20 years ago, Scurlock made it clear that the future for him and his family was paramount. He went so far as to say his son Michael III “isn’t going to be a cornerback like his dad. He’s going to play golf. He’s going to be the next Tiger Woods.”

Michael III is not a professional golfer but he is an accomplished student at Winthrop University, the same esteemed institution Scurlock’s eldest daughter graduated from in 2014. Another daughter is a freshman at Fort Hills (S.C.) High School. The Scurlocks also have a one year old son.

“As a father, husband, and York County resident, I share the same concerns as my community peers,” Scurlock writes in his Website, ScurlockforSheriff.com. “I believe in proactive community policing and strengthening relations between the community and Sheriff’s Office.

“Your home, your family, and your safety are my priority. I vow to work diligently in protecting and serving you as York County’s next Sheriff.”

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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