Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — The search is on for a new head football coach at Mt. Pleasant Community High School.
After a decade at the helm, Coach Shawn Striegel resigned from the head coaching position last week, less than a month after the end of the 2021-22 season.
Striegel, who was an assistant coach from 2005-12 before taking over as head coach in 2013, says personal issues have gotten in the way of giving all he has to the Panther program, which has him ready for a break next season.
“It's just the right thing for me right now,” Striegel said. “A part of our conversation at home with my wife and my family is I'm not able to give 100 percent of myself to be the head coach right now.”
Striegel has had an up-and-down tenure as the Panthers’ head coach. He leaves a 30-59 record behind, one that was harmed by a couple of down years in 2021 and 2022, in which the Panthers went 1-17.
Before that two-year skid, Striegel and the Panthers hadn’t seen a losing season since 2016. The Panthers had a pair of 6-3 seasons in 2017 and 2019, the best records under Striegel’s tenure.
Mt. Pleasant went 4-4 in 2020, but one of those wins was a significant one in Striegel’s career. The Panthers hosted Benton in a Class 3A playoff game, blasting the Bobcats 30-7 for Striegel’s first ever playoff win as a head coach.
One week later, that same team led eventual state champion North Scott 20-19 at halftime of a second round matchup, before faltering 58-26.
Striegel says he won’t be leaving town. He plans to stay in Mt. Pleasant, continue as the throws coach for the track and field team as long as he can give it 100 percent. Striegel and the Mt. Pleasant throwers have won four state titles in the last three track and field championships.
He also says he is more than willing to help out with the football program, if whoever the new head coach is will have him.
“If the next head coach wants me to do that, I want to be able to do that,” Striegel said. “I still care deeply about the coaches and the kids. I’m not going anywhere.”
Striegel says the opportunity to coach Mt. Pleasant was a blessing, which is why it makes it difficult to step away.
“There’s been a lot of great players, but mostly I just have the opportunity to work with so many great kids and great people,” Striegel said. “To be a part of that has been so special.”
Among the talent that Striegel coached were former NFL players Leonard Wester and Henry Krieger-Coble, as well as Henry Lutovsky, who is currently an offensive lineman for Nebraska.
“Through the process of stepping away, a couple of athletes have reached out to me and discussed some of the things they have learned about being a football player,” Striegel said. “Not many of those were about blocking or tackling. They were about how to be a team player, and how to be a leader.”
Striegel says what he’ll miss most is building bonds with his players and coaches.
“Most of the memories I've had are about the relationships that I had the opportunity to build with kids,” Striegel said. “Those are the things that I'm going to remember.”
The new Panther head coach will begin his or her head coaching tenure next fall, but it is not yet known who Mt. Pleasant will play in the first game back, as redistricting and all new schedules will roll out over the winter and spring.