30-year old Mike Schmidt, a Menomonie, Wisconsin native, is now at the controls of the program he once led as a team captain.
Schmidt spent last season as the defensive coordinator at UW-Platteville and four seasons before that as a defensive assistant at Dubuque.
"I love this place. I love it here. There's no place that I'd rather be," Schmidt said after being introduced Friday at the Cleary Alumni and Friends Center.
Schmidt is one day into his new job and he's already picked up his first win. Schmidt won his introductory news conference.
"It'll be a lot of effort, toughness and discipline and grit with our players. When you turn on that tape, when you guys come out to that beautiful stadium and watch us on Saturday afternoons, those are the things that you're going to see," Schmidt said.
His passion and positive vibe is infectious and UW-L is hoping this former player will inject the same life into a stagnant program.
"It's his dream job. He's so passionate about UW-L. The positive energy that he's bringing so far, the guys on the team are just 'oh, my goodness.' He's just full of energy ans we're just excited to get to work with him," said UW-L linebacker Noah Risch.
"He has the energy, enthusiasm and attitude to motivate young men to play football. His dynamic personality draws you in. He has a passion for the game of football and a passion for UW-L football that is unparalleled," said UW-La Crosse Director of Athletics Kim Blum.
Schmidt will approach, what he called his dream job, with the same gusto that made him a bruising all-conference fullback in 2007, which just so happens to be the last time the Eagles finished with a winning record.
"We have a lot of good players. We have to get them to play like good players all the time. We have flashes of really good football and we have flashes of very bad football. The biggest thing that's missing now is a quarterback that's protected in the pocket, to be honest with you."
As you'd expect, Schmidt gave no time line for his plan to return UW-L to the conferences elite, only that will have to come in steps.
"That's our first milestone to hit is to have a winning season. In terms of an overall big picture, we need to take the first step to have a winning season here. Our main focus and main goal right now is to beat Luther College our first game September third."
Now the school is hoping energy equals success.