Mike Schmidt’s tenure as coach of the UW-La Crosse football is over after four seasons after he was introduced as the new football coach at Northern State (S.D.) in a press conference Monday.
Schmidt, who played football and baseball while a student at UW-La Crosse, had his name attached to rumors regarding the Northern State opening on Sunday night. The school, which is in Aberdeen, S.D., announced the Monday afternoon press conference on Monday morning.
Schmidt coached the Eagles to a 27-13 overall record and a 17-11 mark in WIAC games. UW-La Crosse finished sixth in the conference during Schmidt’s first season before moving up to third the next year and second in 2018.
The Eagles placed third with losses to Whitewater and Platteville during his final season.
The move, which takes Schmidt from NCAA Division III to a Division II program that competes in the NSIC, appears to have been a sudden one.
“(I) feel shocked,” UW-La Crosse junior cornerback Max Brower said via direct message. “Finding out through Twitter wasn’t ideal.
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“We just have to realize we still have each other and do what we have to do to move forward.”
Schmidt did not respond to a text message from the Tribune.
The Eagles were already reeling a bit after the news that record-breaking quarterback Evan Lewandowski surfaced last week. Lewandowski also said via text that he wasn’t aware of Schmidt considering the new opportunity.
The Eagles endured nine straight seasons with a losing WIAC record before Schmidt took over. They posted losing overall records six straight seasons before his arrival.
Schmidt came to UW-La Crosse after working as an assistant coach at Dubuque (Iowa), then UW-Platteville.