By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
“I’ve had some excellent coaches and mentors through the years. The kids have worked so hard to make this a very successful program. We’ve had tremendous support from the parents and the community. Our program is a success because our coaches and our kids have such a passion for the game.”
That’s the way Caledonia Warrior head football coach Brent Schroeder responded when asked about being named Minnesota Class AA Football Coach of the Year.
During his two-year stint as head coach, the Warriors compiled a 27-1 record and won two Class AA Football State Championships.
Schroeder, who served as the defensive coordinator under former head coach Carl Fruechte for nine years, moved up to the head coaching position in 2010. Fruechte wanted to spend more time watching his son and daughter participate in collegiate athletics and requested a two-year sabbatical. Fruechte continued on as an assistant coach and handed the head coaching reigns over to Schroeder.
A Caledonia native, Schroeder has been immersed in football since seventh grade. Terry Mullins and Tim Lange were his coaches back then. Later he played under the guidance of Roger Knutson, Fruechte and Mitch Mullins, all who now serve as assistant coaches in the very successful Caledonia system.
“We have such great assistant coaches and I have the best working relationship with Carl,” Schroeder noted. “Carl continues to be our offensive coordinator and I’m still the defensive coordinator. With Isaac (Fruechte, Carl’s son) playing for the Minnesota Gophers this next fall, I’m not sure if Carl will want to continue on as an assistant or move back to the head job. It really doesn’t matter. We work so well together.”
Schroeder has been a part of a winning football tradition throughout his playing and coaching career.
His senior year of high school, the Warriors lost to Zumbrota-Mazeppa 20-8 in the section finals and missed going to state.
His freshman year at RCTC, the Yellow Jackets won the RC Cola Bowl and his sophomore year they lost in the state championship game.
He then went on to play two years at Winona State University. The Warriors were conference champs both years.
“When I got out of college, I found I really missed football,” Schroeder admitted. “Carl was looking for a seventh grade coach and I jumped at the offer. I had a great time coaching those kids for a year and then moved up to be Carl’s defensive coordinator for the next nine years.
“It’s been a great run and I feel our successes will continue. The kids work so hard, not only during the season, but all year long. We have such a great coaching network with Ernie and Eddy (Hodges) running our lifting program, Carl working with our speed program and all of our other coaches helping out in other areas.
“And the kids are so dedicated. They work all summer long on getting stronger, faster and feeling comfortable with our system through captains’ practices. Those practices are a true testament to our seniors and their leadership year in and year out.”
Schroeder said he was quite honored to be named Coach of the Year, but was quick to point out that in Caledonia, all awards and honors are a team thing.
You can contact Charlie Warner at [email protected]