New Packer football coach has background in Austin

Published 7:46 pm Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Packers’ new head football coach is very familiar with Austin.

Matt Schmit was born and raised in town, graduated from Austin High School in 1993, and after graduating from Luther College, he took his first job in Austin. Now, after eight years as an assistant football coach, he’s ready to lead the Packers on the football field.

“It’s fantastic and there’s a lot to do,” Schmit said of getting the job. “Somebody asked if I was nervous and maybe I don’t know enough to be nervous yet, but I’m just excited.”

The first task for Schmit is to organize his coaching staff. He hopes to have that drawn out by next week and it will consist of many of the same coaches, but some will be coaching in different areas.

Schmit also has a certain philosophy in mind when it comes to the team, but he’s going to wait a little while to totally reveal it. He’ll have to see what kind of players the team will have next fall first.

“We’ll do what the kids can do,” Schmit said. “If we find that we have a talented quarterback who can throw it 60 yards, then maybe we’ll throw it a little more. “

Schmit was the co-defensive coordinator for the last three years at Austin and he spent his first two years coaching as the offensive coordinator for the freshman team.

While he was happy to be an assistant, the more Schmit learned, the more he wanted to do as a coach.

“The more you learn, the more you aspire to,” he said. “These last couple of years when (former head coach) Tim (Hermann) started thinking about stepping down, I started thinking more and more about that head job.”

Schmit said he plans to keep Midnight Madness — when the Packers hold an open practice at Art Hass Stadium to start the season — and his squad will attend the North Dakota State University football camp June 19-21.

“We’re going to change things a little bit, but kids love the NDSU camp and I’m familiar with it,” Schmit said. “Anytime you can get the kids working hard and they like to do it, you want to continue with that.”

Schmit, who teaches for Austin Public Schools at Austin Learning Center and coaches track and field at Ellis Middle School, is hoping for a strong turnout this fall.

“I want every kid in Austin to know we have a place for them. Come on out and give it a whirl,” he said.

Schmit is also pleased with the support he’s received from his family, current coaches, administration, players, parents, and community members.

“The support has been fantastic,” he said. “As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to run a successful football program. I would like to personally thank everyone and I hope to see them all in the stands on Friday night.”