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Rick Schmidt coached the G-E-T girls basketball program to a 115-56 record and four Coulee Conference championships over seven seasons. He told his team Wednesday night that he will not return next season.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

Rick Schmidt has spent his last several winters focused on his daughters while helping build Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School into a local girls basketball powerhouse.

That will change moving forward and in a role yet to be determined after Schmidt told his Red Hawks on Wednesday night that he wouldn’t be their coach next year.

“We have a great team coming back next season,” Schmidt said Thursday, “but it came down to a family decision for me.

“I have focused a lot of my time on my daughters (Bailey and Madison), and now it’s time to focus my attention on my son (Sawyer).”

Schmidt doesn’t know if that will mean cheering from the bleachers or coaching on the sideline, but he is ready for it. Schmidt will apply to be G-E-T’s boys basketball coach after last week’s resignation of Mark Wagner.

“I don’t know what will happen, but I know the timing for this is right,” said Schmidt, who resigned as G-E-T’s girls golf coach last week.

The Red Hawks were 20-5 and won the Coulee Conference outright last season, Schmidt’s seventh as their coach, after sharing it the two previous seasons.

His departure leaves the top job open in a program that was 1-22 during the 2011-2012 season and 114-34 since with four straight conference championships (two outright, two shared).

“I feel like I’m leaving it in a good spot,” said Schmidt, whose teams have posted a Coulee record of 62-10 the last six seasons and 46-2 the last four. “My assistant coaches — Jim Scherr, Katie Johnson and Brian Puent — have also said they will stay with the program, so that’s a good thing.”

Schmidt started the building process around Annalese Lamke — who is now a member of the University of Minnesota roster — and continued with his daughters, and players such as Madison Doerr, Macy Williams, Olivia Zielke and Molly Schmitz.

Lexi Wagner, Schmitz, Zielke, Alex Hammond and Macy Doerr were the Red Hawks’ top five scorers last season, and all of them return.

Lexi Wagner, who has a Division 1 scholarship offer from Cleveland State and averaged nearly 21 points per game as a junior last season, is Mark Wagner’s daughter.

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Assistant Sports Editor

Todd Sommerfeldt has covered sports for the La Crosse Tribune since 2003 after doing the same previously in the Fox Cities and Rock County.