By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News
When Adam Schultz imagined the first head coaching job of his football career, he didn’t think it would involve him moving out of his office.
Such is life during the novel coronavirus pandemic, when even Post University jumped to help the medical community.
“We just opened up the Drubner Center to first responders, nurses and medical personnel, so I’ve been getting everything out of the office,” Schultz said earlier this month. “Now I can completely work at home.”
Even as the pandemic nears its projected peak — with schools shuttered and sports on hiatus — Schultz has plenty of work to do as he takes over Post’s sprint football program.
“It’s been a crazy couple of months,” said Schultz, a 2001 Naugatuck High grad and former assistant coach at Woodland. “For me, it’s going to go on like it would (without the pandemic). I have to finish recruiting and putting together a staff.”
Schultz was hired in January after serving as an assistant coach on Joseph Newman’s staff last season. The Eagles went 0-6 last season — a year in which the school canceled the end of the season due to disciplinary measures — but Post’s administration granted Schultz an interview for the head coaching job.
“We had a tough end to the season last year,” Schultz said. “I was brought in for the interview process, and they thought enough of me to let me do that. I’ve always wanted to go through that process to become a head coach.”
Once Schultz earned the job, he knew he had a tall task. Not only did he have to find assistant coaches and recruit players, but he had to sell everybody on a sprint football program that requires players to weigh in at 178 pounds or less.
Schultz has experience recruiting football players from his time as an assistant coach at the University of New Haven, but sprint football requires a different recruiting approach.
“Recruiting is a challenge,” Schultz admitted. “We have to find undersized guys who can play on the offensive and defensive lines. It always seems like there are more skill guys, but we struggle up front against the service academies and Ivy League schools.”
The other names in the Collegiate Sprint Football League help as part of the recruiting pitch, though. Schultz plans on selling prospective players on trips to play vs. Army at West Point and Navy at Annapolis, as well as Cornell and Penn.
“One of the unique things we get to do is play at the service academies and Ivy League stadiums,” Schultz said. “They may not be the top college football programs (now), but once upon a time they were the best in the country.”
Schultz also plans on appealing to undersized players who might not get a chance of significant playing time at Division II or Division III traditional football programs.
“If you’re a kid who wants to play sprint football at Post or a D-III school somewhere, you have a real chance to play here for four years,” Schultz said. “Our roster is capped at 65 per team, as opposed to 120 kids on a D-III roster. It gives the kids a great opportunity to play.”
Recruiting will be a challenge in the short-term, though, as Post is abiding by current NCAA regulations that prohibit many forms of recruiting during the pandemic. Schultz is also limited in his contact with two dozen returning players since all students have left campus.
“That’s tough right now, not being able to sit in front of them but only having to text and do video calls,” Schultz said.
His goal is to bring in between 35-40 players to join the roster for the fall season. He plans on focusing on overlooked talent in Connecticut, where he has spent his entire football career.
Schultz was an All-Naugatuck Valley League defensive back during his playing career at Naugatuck before spending several years at Woodland as a defensive and special teams assistant. Before coming to Post, he coached for several years at UNH, a Division II program.
“We’re going to recruit the Tri-State area and maybe if a kid from elsewhere in the country reaches out, but we want to put up a fence around our home state,” Schultz said. “There’s a ton of good football players that get overlooked in Connecticut, especially those who might be undersized, and those are the guys we want in our program.”
He also plans on filling his coaching staff with people he’s previously worked with at Woodland and New Haven, as well as former Post players. He also enters his new job with plenty of lessons from his coaching experience with people like Chris Anderson, Tim Shea, Chris Moffo, Tim Phipps and Jeff Lownds.
“I was fortunate to learn X’s and O’s, but those guys cared about the kids they coached,” Schultz said. “If the kids know you care about them, they’re going to go to battle with you. One of the biggest things is that you have to establish your culture and how you want things done from Day 1. You only get one chance to make a first impression. The day I stepped into the shoes as head coach, I had to impart that.”