Schraeder steps down at Sacred Heart

By CAMAL PETRO,

After seven seasons of building up a young Sacred Heart football program, head coach Lonny Schraeder has stepped down. He told the team a few days after Sacred Heart’s last game in November.

“It’s been 32 years and this last half of the season has been hard on my legs,” Schraeder said. “It got to the point where it’s time to stop. It was a big decision. When you do something for 32 years, that’s a long time. I love the kids and it has nothing to do with Sacred Heart.”

Schraeder, a double amputee, wants to continue to teach at the school and coach the state champion weightlifting team. He didn’t rule out other opportunities as a football coach, though.

“Even on my crutches, it just hurt,” he said. “A month after football season was over I was still on my crutches because it hurt my legs to just get through the season.

“It was time.”

The Crusaders were 25-46 and made their first-ever playoff appearance in 2016 under Schraeder.

“Football season is a grind,” Schraeder said. “I can’t just sit on my golf cart and watch them (practice), I have to coach. I have to be involved and I couldn’t. That was very frustrating and I just said, ‘Well, it’s time.’”

Schraeder has made stops at other Pine Belt schools, too. He was an assistant at Petal before becoming the head coach in 2001. Then he followed Nevil Barr to Oak Grove as an assistant in 2005 until taking over at Sacred Heart in 2012.