Football coaching influences

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 5/6/20

In honor of the passing of legendary Miami Dolphins head football coach Don Shula Monday, this week’s ‘Will’ful Thinking will highlight the most influential coach(es) of current and …

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Football coaching influences

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In honor of the passing of legendary Miami Dolphins head football coach Don Shula Monday, this week’s ‘Will’ful Thinking will highlight the most influential coach(es) of current and former Owensville Dutchmen football coaches.

First to chime in was current and former Dutchmen assistant football coach Casey Fisher.

Now the Director of Technology for the Gasconade County R-2 School District, Fisher points to a past Dutchmen football player and head coach as the one who has most influenced his current coaching career.

“The most influential coach who has helped shape my coaching career would be Paul Schmanke,” Fisher said. “Paul had a great football mind and worked harder than any other coach I’ve ever worked with.”

Schmanke coached for three years at his alma mater beginning with the 2008 season in which he finished with a 3-7 record.

During a 2009 campaign highlighted by road wins at Blair Oaks and St. Francis Borgia, Schmanke improved his win total by one posting a 4-6 record which included a 4-1 mark in road action.

“He taught me the importance of organization and structure,” Fisher said. “He was a great motivator and very passionate. Kids played hard for him because of it.”

In Schmanke’s final season at the helm of the Dutchmen football program, Owensville produced one of the best fall campaigns in school history.

Opening 2010 on a six-game winning streak, OHS fell to Union before clinching a district championship with a 40-21 victory over St. James at the friendly confines of Dutchmen Field.

Ending that memorable season at 11-2, Schmanke coached his way to an 18-15 record at OHS.

“We had a great run while he was here coaching the orange and black,” Fisher said.

Schmanke was next to respond and he had coaches from junior league to high school to college that influenced him in his coaching journey.

Playing for the South County Seahawks from third through eighth grade, Schmanke credited coach Patrick Luck “with instilling in me a love and passion for the game of football and introducing me to the basic fundamentals of how the game should be played,” Schmanke said. “I have beautiful memories of coach Luck’s rants at practice about the game and how it should be played.

Fast forwarding to Schmanke’s high school days in the early 1990s, Paul Day and Todd Vaughn were his coaches while at OHS.

“Coach (Paul) Day was the head coach at Owensville my junior and senior year and (Todd) Vaughn was a critical assistant with whom I later began my coaching career with at Wentzville Holt and Farmington,” Schmanke said.

According to Schmanke, “Coach Day and Vaughn injected the Dutchmen football program with an attitude of belief that was needed in the mid 1990s.”

While at Owensville, Schmanke credited Day with playing a critical role in facilitating the opportunity for him to walk on to play football at the University of Missouri - Columbia in 1995.

Schmanke’s greatest football memory was beating the Washington Blue Jays during his senior year in 1994 marking the first victory over WHS in the history of the Dutchmen football program.

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