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Thread: BigRedInsider Interview With Lamar Head Football Coach Mike Schultz

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    BigRedInsider Interview With Lamar Head Football Coach Mike Schultz

    With the college football season approaching soon, anticipation is building in Southeast Texas to see the Lamar Cardinals under new Head Coach Mike Schultz. Schultz, hired December 22nd to replace Ray Woodard, has was kind enough to answer a few questions for us here at BigRedInsider.

    You have mentioned numerous times that the recruiting area was a major draw for this job. Aside from that, what were some of the other factors in making the Head Football Coach at Lamar University a desirable job?

    Coach Mike Schultz: There are numerous reasons that make Lamar University a desirable spot to be a head coach. In addition to the quality of high school talent in Southeast Texas each year, this is still a very young program. LU made its return to the field in 2010, so all of us see this as a program on the rise. I firmly believe we have the opportunity to build something special here at Lamar.

    In addition to that, we have great facilities when you consider Provost Umphrey Stadium, the weight room, etc. We also receive great support on the academic side. There are numerous individual who work tirelessly to make sure that our athletes remain focused on a path to graduation, which is our No. 1 priority as an athletics department.

    Most importantly, we receive huge support from our President, Dr. Kenneth R. Evans. He not only shows his support by attending our games but also by making sure that we have what need moving forward in an ever changing world of college athletics.

    Taking the job with realistically one month until National Signing Day, what was the biggest challenge you faced? (i.e. recruiting, assembling a staff, acclimating to the area, etc.)

    CMS: It was an honor for me and my family when I was informed by Jason Henderson and Dr. Evans they wanted me to be the next head football coach at Lamar University. I knew from that moment that it was going to be a hectic pace getting started because there was so much to do. As coaches, it just part of the job. From the moment I was named the head coach, I had a little over a month to get settled, familiarize myself with the campus, hire a staff and hit the recruiting trail, and letís not forget I still needed to meet with the returning players as well. They had no clue about who I was or my style. I was not only trying to recruit for the future of the program but also ďrecruitĒ the current players on the roster. I donít want to say that anyone of those is more important than the other, because they are all equally important.

    Going forward, what is the biggest challenge that you foresee coming next?

    CMS: One thing that is very important is changing the culture. All of the returning players have seen some very rough times during their careers. When that happens for an extended period of time, its human nature to start doubting yourself even becoming accepting of it. Itís time we start acting like winners, and that doesnít just mean on the scoreboard. We have to have that confidence we step on the practice field, in the huddle, how we handle ourselves in the weight room and the classroom. This is not a quick fix, but something we will be taking steps toward every day.

    How was your reception amongst the community to your hiring?

    CMS: Lamar University and the Golden Triangle has been very welcoming to me and my family. There was an immediate outpouring of support from the moment we arrived for the press conference. It was obvious the love this community has for the program and how they want to see it succeed.

    With spring ball having now come to a close and you having seen the players in action, what surprised you the most of the returning players?

    CMS: Any time you take over a program, one of the first things you have to do is win the returning players over. It was very important for them to believe in me and our coaching staff. I was very impressed with how quickly the players bought into what we want them to do. We have a long way to go, but we were taking steps in the right direction as a team.

    You have a history with several of the coaches including some that you even coached. How important is that familiarity for you to get this program to the next level?

    CMS: It is key from the standpoint that I had an established relationship with these coaches. I know what theyíre capable of and how they coach. In turn, they know what to expect from me and what I expect from my players. As a head coach, you want to make sure your assistants are on the same page as you moving forward.

    Staying with the coaching staff, your initial staff has already seen some turnover with OL coach Brad Bedell taking the same position at FBS Boise State. His replacement came in the form of Jamal Powell of reigning FCS Champion James Madison. How difficult was it to convince Powell to leave a national champion for a team coming off a 3-8 season?

    CMS: In regards to Coach Bedell, although he was here just a short time we are very happy for him. At this level, if the FBS schools are coming after your coaches that lets you know youíre doing something right.

    In terms of Coach Powell, I have a history with him. I recruited him and coached him for five years at TCU. He also has a long history with the other coaches in the offensive room. Needless to say Jamal, Eric Buchanan and Kevin Brown all played on the same team. He was a great fit for this program.

    In terms of it being difficult to convince him, not from my standpoint. Jamal is a very confident individual. He believes he can help Lamarís offensive line get to the same level it was at James Madison. Iím looking forward to seeing what he will do here, but that is the same with all of my assistants. Iím very excited about this staff.

    Locally, one point of emphasis that fans have wanted to see are local players donning the red and white. What do you feel is going to be the biggest challenge in getting local players to "stay home" and not wanting to venture out to other opportunities?

    CMS: Southeast Texas is a hotbed for Division I talent Ė that is no secret. That is why all the Power Five conferences make their way here each year trying to lock up talent. I believe we have something very special to offer here at Lamar University Ė and that goes for all recruits no matter where they come from. For starters, our young men are going to receive a quality education from some of the finest professors who are honestly concerned about their future. They want to see our students succeed.

    This is a great university with a rich tradition that we want to add to. We just recently had our first player get drafted to the NFL since its rebirth, to go along with another player who signed a free agent contract. Young men who have the dream of playing at the next level can achieve that by coming to LU.

    You are veteran of nearly 40 years in the coaching business, but now finally getting a chance to be a head coach at the Division I level. What will September 2nd mean to you and your family?

    CMS: Iíve been very blessed to coach the game I love for my career. Iím very excited for the season to get here, but not because it is my first game as a head coach but because it is the start of a new season and that is a very special time for coaches, players and fans.

    BRI: Who has been the most influential coach you've learned from?

    CMS: Iíve been fortunate to work for some very good football coaches Ė Gary Patterson, Dennis Franchione, etc. Having said that, I grew up in a family of football coaches (both my father and brother were coaches). I learned so much about the game from them and not just Xís and Oís. Theyíre were very influential to me learning how to manage players, personal, getting the most out of your staff and your team. Iím very thankful to everyone who has given me an opportunity to coach and Iíve learned something from every stop along the way, but my father and brother have been very influential in my life.
    Last edited by KABrother88; 07-10-2017 at 05:54 AM.

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