Striegel to take over Panther football
“Mt. Pleasant football is a great tradition, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Shawn Striegel said. “The program has a history of doing great things in a great community.”
Striegel, a Mt Pleasant Middle School teacher, was approved Monday by the school board as the next head coach of Mt. Pleasant football.
With the job comes a big opportunity in a town and a school with a proud football tradition. But the position also offers a number of challenges.
Striegel says he’s ready for it all.
“I’m always up for challenges. Following Bob Jensen’s footsteps is a big deal — his footsteps are pretty big,” Striegel said.
Before Jensen, who was the head coach for 24 years, the Panther football program was headed by the late Bob Evans for 33 years.
“Before I applied, I knew how important this job is, and I do not take it lightly,” Striegel said. “I love this town, and I can see myself being here for a long time.”
As someone speaking from experience, Jensen is quick to list a number of Striegel’s qualities that make him a good fit for the job.
“He’s a guy that has had 14 years of experience,” Jensen said. “He’s been a head coach and he’s played in college, so his football knowledge is definitely there. He’s been a valued assistant and did an excellent job with JV.”
Striegel, along with serving as head coach of the Mt. Pleasant JV team, was also a varsity assistant who worked primarily with the offensive and defensive lines.
He and his wife, Jennifer, who is a nurse in the Mt. Pleasant school district, live in Mt. Pleasant with their three daughters: Alyssa (10), Linzy (3) and Addison (2 months).
The family came to Mt. Pleasant in 2005, after Striegel heard of an open position from Mt. Pleasant assistant football coach Tyler Rodgers, who had also been an assistant under Striegel at Tri-County of Thornburg.
A graduate of Tri-County, Striegel went back to his alma mater to teach and coach football after he graduated from Simpson College.
He had been at St. Ambrose for a year before transferring to Simpson, and he played football at both schools: he was an offensive lineman at St. Ambrose and a defensive lineman at Simpson.
He was an assistant coach at Tri-County for five years before doing a two-year stint as head coach, when he went 3-15 with a young and inexperienced Tri-County team.
As the newly-appointed head coach at Mt. Pleasant, he will inherit a team that finished last season with a record of 2-7, but is ready to meet the players where they are and work with them to help them become successful.
“I’m fortunate to have a lot of good things around me: the young men on the team, the coaching staff that we still have in place — guys like Mike Wilson and Tyler Rodgers — and administrative support.
“It is going to be challenging — we do lose a lot of quality players from this year’s team,” he added. “But with the community support that’s always there, good things can happen.”
When he puts players on the field this fall, Striegel doesn’t expect that fans will notice too many changes.
“Obviously, with any coach, there will be differences in philosophy, but you mostly see changes based on player changes,” Striegel said. “We’ve run multiple different offenses in my time at Mt. Pleasant, in order to meet the needs of the players.”
In his time with the Panther football team, Striegel has picked up a lot from Jensen and his fellow coaches, and he looks forward to applying it to his own coaching philosophy in the upcoming season.
“There’s been a lot of notes taken in the last seven years,” Striegel said.
Jensen has confidence that, while there will be challenges that inevitably come with such a big transition, things will fall into place for the new head coach.
“I think he’s a really good man and has his priorities right,” Jensen said. No one will out-work him. He will get after it — he already is.”
The first step is getting the coaching staff figured out.
“Right now, our biggest thing is how the staff looks, from seventh grade to varsity,” Striegel said. “We have to fill the two assistant varsity positions. Losing (Scot) Lamm is a big deal, but he’ll be a huge help to the program as Activities Director.”
Lamm, Jensen and Striegel will all be working together to fill those assistant coaching positions.
“The first thing is getting everyone on board, on the same page, so that the kids can feel that support,” Striegel said.
As far as working with his players, Striegel can’t do much before summer, but he’s doing what he can.
“Coach (Mike) Beason does a great job with the kids in the weight room, and that’s the first step,” Striegel said. “I’ll get in there too and help them get going on the work ethic that they need to be successful.”
Until he can start his official practices, Striegel will look forward to the role he gets to play.
“I get to be part of a lot of young people’s lives, and that’s an exciting opportunity,” Striegel said. “I’d like the kids to show what we can do; after all, this is about them. I want to focus on what they’re gaining (through their football experience).”
The Mt. Pleasant football season starts with a road game against Marion on Aug. 30.