Journal-World Staff Report
Baldwin -- Steve Schottel lasted less than a year as Baker University's head football coach.
Schottel, who was hired last March and guided the Wildcats to a 3-6 season last fall, announced his resignation on Monday.
Schottel said he made the decision after weighing the positives and negatives of his situation. He informed his players at a team meeting on Monday afternoon.
"The most difficult part is leaving the players," Schottel said. "They're the greatest group of guys I've ever coached."
The players were stunned by Schottel's announcement.
"It was a very big shock," BU junior running back Rob Winfrey said. "He didn't back down. It was like a bomb went off."
Schottel was hired last March to replace Charlie Richard, who died the previous December of a heart attack. Schottel had spent the previous four seasons as offensive coordinator at Benedictine.
In 25 years of coaching, Schottel made several stops. He had been an assistant coach at Louisville, Missouri, Michigan State, Colorado, William Jewell and Missouri Western. He was also head coach at high schools in Lawson, Mo., and Maysville, Mo.
"I think it's kind of a letdown because of the fact that our confidence has been building," Winfrey said. "We had a disappointing 3-6 season, but confidence was building at the end. It's not going to destroy Baker football, but it's a big step backward instead of forward."
Baker president Dan Lambert expressed disappointment over Schottel's decision, noting that continuity has been a tradition in Baker football. Richard had been the Wildcats' coach for 15 years.
"Given the relatively long tenure of former coaches," Lambert said, "it is unusual for a coach to stay for only one year. Coach Schottel had begun building with freshman athletes and was committed to the academic progress of his players."
Baker athletic director Dan Harris said he hoped to have a new coach hired by March.
Lambert is confident the school will attract a large pool of candidates.
"Baker has an extraordinary football tradition," Lambert said. "This will attract quality candidates who understand our heritage and who are capable of building on it."
Schottel was the 17th head coach in Baker's 105-year football history. He inherited a team with only five returning starters -- two on offense and three on defense.
"From an offensive player's standpoint, it's harder, because we'll have to learn a new offense again," Winfrey said. "But our administration is not going to let some chump come in. They have too much pride in Baker football."