Announced earlier this week as the new head football coach for Crawfordsville High School, Kurt Schlicher is ready to make something special out of the football program.
“I think this job offers a great opportunity to bring some tradition back to Crawfordsville,” he said Thursday afternoon. “When I was younger, Crawfordsville football was one of the best in the area every year, and one of the most respected programs in this region of the state, and really all over the state.”
Schlicher is a 1987 North Montgomery graduate, where he was a three-sport standout for the Chargers, and comes to Crawfordsville from McCutcheon, where he has been teaching social studies, and most recently an assistant coach for the football, girls basketball, and baseball programs. Since 1992, he has been assistant coach at North Montgomery (1992-2002), McCutcheon (2002-12, 15-19), and Lafayette Jeff (2012-15).
“Crawfordsville was good to me growing up, it was good to me, and good to my family,” Schlicher said. “I just think that most people don’t get the chance to come back and leave their mark, and that’s kind of what I’m trying to do here is not make my mark, but I want to help keep Crawfordsville a place that people are proud of and I think sports programs add to those things, and for me personally, I want to do it. And it’s a challenge for me.”
The Athenians have struggled in recent years, winning just three games in the last three seasons. Crawfordsville has not won three games or more since 2011, and has not had a winning season since they went 7-4 in 2007. Schlicher will be the third coach in the last four years for the Athenians.
“From afar I’ve noticed the struggles in the past here,” he said. “And I truly believe in my heart this school is capable as it’s showing in baseball and it’s showing in basketball to have a competitive football program again.”
Schlicher looks at the success that coach John Froedge has had with the baseball program and David Pierce with the basketball program, and says why not football too?
“That’s part of the reason why I’m taking the job,” Schlicher said. “I think if they can do it, we can do it in football too. Why not all three? Why not make Crawfordsville High School somewhere special, where the three sports work together to give the athletes the best opportunity they can have? So I’m going to model a lot of what we do after what those two programs have done here.”
Schlicher’s main initiative is to get the kids to buy into the program, and once again give football a chance.
“We want the kids to give us a chance,” he said. “And that’s what I’m going to ask the kids is to give us a chance to coach you. And that means that when we coach you, we are going to care about you, we are going to help you develop as a person, we are going to make you a better football player, but we are also going to teach you how to work hard and be disciplined, and yet to be an enjoyable experience, and the more kids that do this, the more fun it will be.”
Schlicher’s staff is not yet finalized, but he knows it will take a lot of quality people chipping in for them to accomplish their goals, and turn the program around.
“This is not a one man job,” he said. “The old saying that is takes a village to get something going and I’m really looking forward to getting people in here that have the same common goals and that is to make this program successful again, and make Crawfordsville football an experience that the players will not only enjoy, but something that they take with them the rest of their life.”
Schlicher will not only come as a football coach, but a veteran teacher, and someone who has been around many sports as a coach for almost three decades.
“Kurt is the type of teacher/coach who develops a great rapport with his student athletes,” Crawfordsville athletic director Bryce Barton said. “He pushes them to be successful on and off the field. As someone from Montgomery County, he knows the history of Crawfordsville football and wants to see it return to its past success.”
Schlicher is eager to get started as not just the football coach, but an educator and member of the community where he grew up.
“I really care about being a teacher,” he said. “I’m coming down here to not only be a football coach, but I’m coming down here to be a good teacher, and that’s my goal. I truly love the job in the classroom, and I feel fortunate to have this opportunity. I really look deep down into myself that this is a challenge that I’ve never taken. I’ve been an assistant, and I believe in myself, and I think that all those mentors I’ve had will help me achieve what we are trying to get done here, which is making something special out of our football program.”