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Newport High School Re-Hires Football Coach Arrested in 2015

Newport High School has re-hired its former head football coach who was suspended and later replaced in 2015 after being arrested on drug and other charges.

Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middletown confirmed that Matt Schmitz is back in his old job as football coach and as a teacher in the New Pathways alternative classroom program.

Schmitz was found passed out in a car near the Newport Shopping Center in May 2015 and was charged with possession of marijuana, public intoxication, and resisting arrest. In a plea deal, Schmitz pleaded guilty to the marijuana charge and was placed on a two-year probation.

During his two seasons as head football coach, the Wildcats had winning records and won playoff games, but the program has struggled since he left. Head coach Tim Viox stepped down at the end of the 2017 season. He compiled a record of 4-29 in three seasons at the helm. In the two seasons prior, Schmitz led Newport to a record of 13-11 with two playoff wins. 

"As superintendent part of my job is finding the most capable people of teaching and helping our kids. Matt Schmitz is a good person, a fine educator, and an excellent administrator," Middleton said. "He has done an outstanding job as a teacher and we welcome him back to the Newport High School football program.

"During his previous two years as coach, Matt not only led the Wildcats to winning seasons and playoff victories, but more than seventy players were on the roster during his time as coach. Those numbers of dwindled drastically to less than twenty-five players over the past two years. Coach Schmitz's ability to attract, engage and inspire student athletes that was a key decision to fill the vacancy when the former coach resigned after the 2017 season."

Schmitz was replaced as athletic director at the time of arrest, too. That job is currently held by Paul L. Baker.

After his arrest, Schmitz issued a statement apologizing for the incident.

“I also recognize that, as a coach and school administrator, I am expected to lead by example and that I failed miserably in fulfilling that obligation. I am making no excuses for my actions. What I did was wrong, especially for someone in my position. I promise to make better choices in the future and take all steps necessary to ensure that this type of behavior will never happen again.”

​-Michael Monks, editor & publisher