Coach soars into position at UW-L

With the end of another Pioneer Football season, changes are bound to happen. Opportunities all around the State of Wisconsin, including new coaching positions have led to an opportunity for a University of La Crosse alumni to return home.

Pioneers Defensive Coordinator Mike Schmidt took the head coaching position at his Alma Mater, UW-La Crosse. After being contacted by UW-La Crosse, Schmidt applied for the coaching position.

“You see and hear of openings throughout the league that you coach in, so I knew that UW-La Crosse had the Head Coach spot available,” Schmidt said. “UW-La Crosse then contacted Coach Emendorfer [UW-Platteville Head Football Coach]. I sat on it for quite a while with my family and my wife to make sure it was the best decision for us.”

He officially accepted the position on Feb. 5. “It was a great opportunity that I could financially afford,” Schmidt said. “With our families in the area, my wife and I knew this was the best decision for us.”

Schmidt understood that there would  be preparation involved in order for the transition to a new school to run smoothly. So, Schmidt turned to his resources at UW-La Crosse, as well as coaches and friends at UW-Platteville. “I have Coach Emendorfer and a few others helping me the best they can with the transition,” Schmidt said. “I am so grateful for them and my friends in Platteville.

This would have been much harder without their help.”

Schmidt looks forward to coaching against the Pioneers during the 2016 football season and inspires to make the UW-La Crosse Eagles football team as successful as the Pioneers. “It’s going to be very emotional playing against them,” Schmidt said.

“With all the friends I’ve made both players and coaches, but I’m excited to see where this program will go in the upcoming years.”

Emendorfer claimed he was not surprised by the decision for Coach Schmidt to leave.

“All Assistant Coaches have the opportunity to grow and we value that. UW- La Crosse contacted us and asked me if he could apply for the position,” Emendorfer said

From past communications with Coach Schmidt, Emendorfer knew that a head coaching position was Schmidt’s dream job. This could mean that the UW-Platteville vs. UW-La Crosse games will be quite interesting for the next couple years.

“I hope the games will be very similar to those in the past- with us beating them,” Emendorfer said.  “It’s always been a big rivalry for us within the conference and I don’t expect that to change. The first year may bring some more excitement, but there’s still a job to be done.”

During the Pioneer’s offseason, they will be short staffed as they start the recruiting process. However, Coach Emendorfer said, “We plan on replacing Mike. The Defensive Coordinator is a very important coaching position, but we haven’t started the process for looking at this moment.”

As the coaching staff finds ways to deal with the transition, students who have played under Schmidt, like senior Human and Health Performance major and defensive back, Logan Emendorfer, express their disappointment for Schmidt’s departure.

“I think that UW-La Crosse will be a big upside for him going from Defensive Coordinator to Head Coach,” Logan Emendorfer said. “Who doesn’t want to go back and coach at their Alma Mater? I am disappointed he left, but the team will move on and find the next [man] and get back to work.”

The 2016 football schedule has yet to be posted, but stay tuned for Coach Emendorfer and Coach Schmidt to take their teams to the field this fall.

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