Whatever happened to: Scott Sisson

For Scott Sisson, football was not even on his mind when he moved from New Orleans to Atlanta as a young boy. He was all about soccer, a strong right-footed kicker who saw himself going to college to play the sport he loved.

It never happened.

Instead, he became one of Georgia Tech’s greatest field goal kickers, his career including perhaps the biggest kick in school history.

Son of a Delta pilot, Sisson started off playing club soccer in Kennesaw before his family moved to Marietta, where soccer could hardly compete with football. One his of friends suggested he talk to the middle school football coach and after a short tryout, his football career began.

He was able to play both soccer and football all four years at Marietta High School, a program that had produced Georgia Bulldogs kicker Rex Robinson, a member of the 1980 national championship team.

Sisson’s best high school friend was tight end Jess Simpson, who today is the very successful coach at Buford High School. Simpson suggested Sisson accompany him on a recruiting visit to Georgia Tech and one of the coaches happened to ask what position he played. The next thing he knew, Sisson tried out in an empty Bobby Dodd Stadium in front of head coach Bobby Ross, who then visited the family and offered him a full scholarship, unusual at that time for a kicker.

Sisson was brilliant at Tech, setting a school record of 70 straight consecutive extra points and setting another with 84 points during the 1990 national championship season. That was the year Sisson hit a 37-yard field goal to beat top-ranked Virginia with seven seconds left, a moment that will always be remembered by Tech fans.

He earned All-American honors his senior season when he hit 79.2 percent (19-for-24) of his field goals.

In 1993, he was drafted in the fifth round by New England and it would be a sobering experience with coach Bill Parcells. Sisson made only 14-of-26 kicks and veteran Matt Bahr was brought in to handle the job the last three games. The next year, Sisson he kicked well in training camp but Bahr beat him out. Released, Sisson went to Tampa for a week but didn’t make it there either and sat out the season.

In 1995, he signed with Jacksonville, didn’t make the cut but wound up getting a call from Minnesota, where veteran Fuad Reveiz was hurt. Reveiz, who had hit 34-of-39 field goals in ’94, decided to retire. Sisson got the job and turned in a good year, making (22-of-29 FG attempts, all 30 extra points).

But the next year, the Vikings brought in Greg Davis, Sisson’s friend and an NFL veteran who had kicked locally at Lakeside High School and for the Falcons. Coach Dennis Green and he decided to go with Davis and cut Sisson. Davis would last just four games before being replaced by Gary Anderson.

Sisson did get one more tryout with Denver but then decided to retire. He went into a mortgage business before getting into the website-building business. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 2003.

Where he lives: Sisson, 45, lives in Canton with his wife of 19 years, Beth. They have two children, Connor and Avery.

What he does: He owns Sisson Media and also has started a kicking website (Fieldgoalkicker.com) with former Georgia kicker Scott Blair. He also gives kicking lessons.

On not playing football until middle school: "I loved soccer and we had a great group over in North Cobb. I spent my seventh grade year driving back out to Kennesaw and playing. In fact, that team would go on and play Lovett for the state title and I went to the game. But when I moved over to Marietta, this was no way to go forward and there was no smooth transition into the new school. But a friend told me to go to the middle school football coach and ask him if I could kick. There were not a lot of soccer-style kickers back then and they had a guy just toe-balling kickoffs. On the very first kick for the coach, I heard another coach scream, 'We got ourselves a kicker.'''

On going to Tech: "My best friend was Jess Simpson and he was being recruited to play at several schools. When I went to Tech with him, I was having a pretty good season and there happened to be a newspaper on the table during my visit and Jess pointed out I was in it after kicking a 45-yard winning field goal against, I think, Riverwood. (Kicker) Thomas Palmer was graduating from Tech and they needed a kicker. I thought I was just going to walk on at a small school and play soccer. … I was lucky Bobby Ross was a former special teams coach and he came out and watched me kick. There was no one there but Bobby and the team chaplain was holding for me. I was very nervous and didn't think I kicked that well and thought I blew it, but he liked what he saw. He then came out to the house and offered me a full scholarship.''

On the national championship: "I don't remember the numbers, but we had a huge increase in applicants to the school after we won the championship. It is amazing what a football program can do for a school. There is so much money involved.''

On the season with the Patriots: "I remember when I was drafted that Coach Parcells called and said the weather was going to be a challenge but I felt I could do it. I missed my first kick in preseason and remember Coach Parcells cussing me all the way to the sidelines. Let's say it was an interesting experience. I didn't miss again in the preseason and made 3-of-4 to open the season but all they talked about was the one I missed and if I had made it, we would have won. The thing is, I didn't have a veteran kicker to study and finally they brought in Matt Bahr. The next preseason I lost my mother but really kicked well in preseason but they let me go.''

On his year with the Vikings: "I had no intention of playing for those guys and Reveiz was a great kicker but he retired. I had a good season there. But the next year, there was all this pressure on Dennis Green because he couldn't win a playoff game. Now, I was kicking against a friend in Greg Davis. When they cut me, I told them I felt strongly Greg wasn't the guy and he was cut after missing a chip shot early in the season.''

On finally retiring: "It wasn't easy sitting by the telephone all the time.''

On his life today: "I value my ability to set my own schedule and spend a lot of time with my family.''