Fairfield Ludlowe Athletic Director Dave Schulz inducted into FCIAC Hall of Fame
Back in 1978, David Schulz graduated from Southern Connecticut State College and went to work for the high school that was once his arch rival.
Despite some of the teasing he took from family and classmates, that path the former Crimson Eagles soccer, basketball and baseball player took from Melville Avenue to Unquowa Road turned out to be a great one.
It's the road that led Schulz, now the athletic director at Fairfield Ludlowe, to the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.
"It's been a great experience being an athletic director, I really love it," said Schulz during his induction speech Tuesday at Testo's Restaurant in Bridgeport. "But there is really nothing like coaching."
Schulz is most known as the head boys basketball coach at Fairfield High, a position he held for the school's entire 18 year existence.
It was also Schulz's only head coaching job. After eight seasons as the assistant to Joe Cron at Roger Ludlowe, Schulz became Fairfield's head coach in the fall of 1987, when Andrew Warde and Roger Ludlowe were consolidated. Schulz stepped aside when Fairfield split to form the new Warde and Ludlowe in 2005.
During Schulz's tenure, the Mustangs had a 235-166 record, made the FCIAC playoffs 11 times, and qualified for the state playoffs 17 times. Fairfield made the FCIAC championship game in 1993 and was a CIAC semifinalist in 1993.
Schulz was the FCIAC Coach of the Year six times, Connecticut Post's Coach of the year three times and in his final season leading the Mustangs, was the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2005.
"There's nothing like the feeling you get when you're working with a team and they start to gel and they start to get together," Schulz said. "Maybe they beat a team that everyone says you couldn't beat. Or maybe you see a student come back after four years of college and you see what they've become."
His coaching extended off the hardwood, too. Schulz also coached softball, track, golf and football at Fairfield and Roger Ludlowe.
"You work with the individual and all the sudden you see the light come on in the individual's life and how athletics can do it," Schulz said. "That's why we coach, and that's why I did what we did. As much as I enjoy the athletic director's position, there's nothing like coaching."
What Schulz has done for the FCIAC off the field is just as impressive as his game day resume.
Schulz has served on the FCIAC's Board of Directors since 1989, was the league president from 1996 to 1998 and is currently serving as its 2nd Vice President and is chairman of four league subcommittees.
Schulz also developed and still runs the FCIAC scholar-athlete program, which honors a scholar-athlete from each athletic team from all 19 FCIAC schools.
When the schools split, Fairfield Ludlowe headmaster Nancy Larsen hired Schulz to be the athletic director, and it's a job he has embraced for the past six years. Since the split, Ludlowe has become host to the FCIAC boys soccer semifinals, and home of the semifinals and finals of the girls basketball and girls and boys volleyball tournaments, as well as many neutral-site games for the CIAC tournaments.
What's more, Schulz directs the FCIAC boys basketball tournament games at Fairfield Warde and the FCIAC softball playoffs at Sacred Heart University.
Schulz has also been a visible presence at just about every Ludlowe sporting event during the school year, from mainstream sports like football to late-night co-op ice hockey games at Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport.
Also on Tuesday, the FCIAC announced Ludlowe was the league's small school of the year for its accomplishments on and off the field.
What helps keep Schulz going? An understanding wife is key.
Schulz's wife, Priscilla, is a long-time physical education teacher in the New Canaan school system and has been a volleyball, girls basketball and softball coach for the Rams. Priscilla Schulz also serves on the FCIAC as third Vice President.
"Priscilla was also a coach for many years and understands what coaching is, and the hours that are spent," Schulz said. "She tolerated that for so long, and I really appreciate that."
Both Schulz's daughters followed in his footsteps at the Melville Avenue school as scholar athletes at Fairfield High. Kerry graduated from Providence College in 2007 and excelled in varsity tennis and volleyball, and Kristin graduated from Holy Cross in 2009, where she was captain of the field hockey team.
With all he's done to build student-athletes in and around Fairfield, Schulz can look back and laugh at some of the kidding he took for going to work for the arch-rivals back in the 1970s.
And he's glad to have been able to accomplish it all in Fairfield.
"It was tough back then, but then the school becoming Fairfield High for all those years made it easier," Schulz said. "I'm lucky to have been able to have continue that in my 32 years here."