After succeeding as the offensive coordinator of efficient, high-octane offenses for the better part of 16 years – 14 of those in the state of Texas – Mike Schultz will open the 2017 season in his first year as head coach of the Lamar University football program. He was hired as the second head coach since the program’s rebirth in 2010 on December 21, 2016.
The Houston native, who most recently spent five seasons under Dennis Franchione at Texas State, helped jump start a Texas Christian program that began in the Western Athletic Conference when they arrived that has since become a national power in the Big 12. Prior to their arrival, the Horned Frogs suffered a 1-11 mark in 1997 that turned into a 7-5 record and berth into the Sun Bowl in 1998.
He and the Frogs would go on to play in nine more bowl games in the final 10 seasons he was there.
When Gary Patterson took over the program, Schultz stayed on staff as offensive coordinator and the two built a program that was ranked in the AP and Coaches Top 25 polls in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008 by year’s end. In 2005 the Frogs were ranked ninth in the country as the Mountain West and Houston Bowl Champions. He was the mastermind that built the foundation for a dominant offense that lasted for more than a decade.
His offenses set single-season records for points scored (420) and touchdowns (54) in 2008, the same year he ranked in the nation’s top 40 in scoring (35.0 points per game), total (417.7 yards per game) and rushing (215.7) offense. They also lead the nation in time of possession (35:05). TCU – which finished seventh in the final polls – totaled at least 410 yards of offense in eight of 12 games that season.
Schultz and the Frogs ranked among the nation’s best in scoring six times in his 11 seasons, and five times each in total and rushing offense. TCU’s running attack ranked ninth nationally in 2006 with 194.6 yards per game and 17th in total offense (408.5 ypg). In 2004, the 362 points scored tied for second in school history, while the 48 touchdowns were one shy of the school mark in 2005. TCU ranked fourth nationally in rushing offense with 275.6 yards per game at the turn of the millennium, and was one of just six schools to average over 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in 2003.
He was key in the maturation of TCU’s all-time leading rusher LaDainian Tomlinson, who racked up 5,263 rushing yards in his career, but it was when Schultz showed up that he excelled. In 1999, Tomlinson ran for 1,850 yards and topped that his senior season on 2,158 – each led the NCAA. Including Tomlinson’s two seasons with more than 1,000 yards, Schultz tutored five 1,000-yard rushers with the Frogs, who only had four in the 100-year history of the program beforehand.
Tomlinson was a Heisman Trophy finalist and the Doak Walker Award winner before being picked fifth overall in the 2001 National Football League draft. He would go on to garner NFL Most Valuable Player honors following the 2006 season with 1,815 rushing yards and an NFL record 28 touchdowns.
As offensive coordinator, he helped groom Andy Dalton into an NFL quarterback. In 2007, Dalton was listed as a freshman All-American after he set the then single-season school records for pass completions (222) and attempts (371) all while notching second in yards (2,459) and fourth in completion percentage (59.8)
Schultz showed the ability to develop young talent throughout his career. Aaron Brown was tabbed as the MWC’s Freshman of the Year, and Lonta Hobbs and Robert Merrill became the first two freshman in TCU history to rush for 1,000 yards. Hobbs did it in 2002 and Merrill in 2003. Basil Mitchell was the fifth 1,000 runner under his tutelage.
The Frogs set a school mark with 782 yards against in-state rival Houston in 2003 and grabbed third in 2007 with 604 against San Diego State. The marks are now second and seventh, respectively.
While at Texas State, Schultz was known for developing a fast, up-tempo spread attack that was highly efficient. The 2014 season was his best, with his quarterbacks ranking 10th in the country in completion percentage (65.4) all while his running backs ranked 18th in rushing offense (238.5). The team was 24th in the nation in total offense (464.4) and 25th in turnover margin (0.58). His offense ranked 111th the season before.
He was an instrumental member of a staff that helped the Bobcats make the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to the Bowl Subdivision (FBS). By their fourth season, the Cats would have been eligible for a bowl twice, but were still in the transition period.
Schultz had two starting quarterbacks during his five seasons at Texas State, and both put up impressive statistics. His first quarterback, Shaun Rutherford, holds the Bobcat career record for pass completion percentage (62.4), while Tyler Jones owns the single-season mark of 65.4 from 2014.
Between these quarterbacks, they accounted for 1,374 pass attempts and completed 853 (62.1) and only threw 31 interceptions. Combined they tossed 71 touchdowns and rank first and second in the school record books in career completion percentage.
Jones ranks second in school history in pass completions (569), fourth-most career passing yards (6,284) and touchdowns (44). He averaged 196.4 passing yards per game, which is third all-time. Rutherford - two-year career - is sixth in completions (284), 10th in yards (3,364), seventh in touchdowns (27) and tops in pass efficiency (140.1).
Running back Robert Lowe turned in the fourth most rushing yards in school history (3,027) and rushing touchdowns (29) under Schultz’s guidance.
Between Jones, Rutherford and Lowe, they hold spots on Texas State’s career record books for offensive yards, touchdowns responsible for, touchdowns scored and points scored career lists. Under Schultz, the Cats recorded 20 spots in the season record lists.
While the offensive coordinator at Texas State, he worked with D.J. Hall, a two-time All-American at offensive line. He notched 31 all-conference performers that spans two conferences and an independent status, and at TCU he worked with 44 all-conference selections, also spanning three leagues. In all, he’s been a key to 80 all-conference athletes during his 18 years as a coordinator.
Schultz, who has coached both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, started his coaching career at his alma mater and Southland Conference rival Sam Houston State in 1979. He served as recruiting coordinator and coached linebackers in one season and flipped to quarterbacks and receivers in the next year. He also was a recruiting coordinator and coached receivers and tight ends at UTEP and Kansas State before joining Fred Akers’ staff at Texas in 1985. Following that year, Schultz was an assistant and defensive coordinator at Westwood High School in Round Rock for four years before joining Franchione’s staff at Texas State in 1990 – his first stint at TSU.
At UNM, he helped the Lobos to a WAC Mountain Division Championship and invitation to the Insight.com Bowl, the program’s first bowl berth since 1961. He’s been a part of 11 bowl appearances.
After his time with the Horned Frogs, he spent time as the offensive coordinator at both Big 10 program Illinois and Middle Tennessee State. At Illinois, he coached a rushing attack that again ranked at the top of the nation’s leaderboards (18th) and at MTSU he was invited to play in the GoDaddy.com bowl, only the school’s fifth bowl appearance at the time.
Throughout his career, Schultz has worked with quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, tight ends, secondary and linebackers.
He and his wife, Cindy have three daughters, Taylor, Kendall and Jordan, and he is a 1979 graduate of Sam Houston.