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Former Newport head coach Schmitz rehired to guide struggling Wildcats football program

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

A familiar face is returning as the football head coach at Newport High School.

Newport interim athletic director Paul Baker confirmed Tuesday that Matt Schmitz has been rehired as head coach of the Wildcats program. Schmitz served as both head coach and athletic director at Newport before an arrest for marijuana possession prompted his dismissal from both roles in 2015.

“Yes, Matt has been named new head coach,” Baker confirmed through an email when asked if Schmitz had been rehired.

Newport’s Matt Schmitz

Schmitz pleaded guilty to one count of marijuana possession and was sentenced to two years’ probation in 2015. The Newport Independent School District suspended Schmitz with pay after his arrest, and his contract for head coach and athletic director was not renewed.

Newport hired Schmitz in 2013 to rebuild the football program (3-8 record in 2012) and he immediately produced a competitive team, as the Wildcats posted a 5-6 record and advanced to the 2A playoffs.

In 2014, Schmitz guided Newport to an 8-5 record and a pair of wins during the 2A playoffs. The Wildcats advanced to the regional championship game, where they dropped a hard-fought 42-26 decision to rival Newport Central Catholic.

He became Newport’s athletic director the following year and served in the dual roles until his arrest on May 15, 2015.

“I’ve wanted to apologize and just let everyone know just how deeply sorry I am for what I’ve put the community through, my family through, my players and students and staff at Newport High School,” Schmitz said in a 2015 statement after being sentenced to two years’ probation.

In exchange for Schmitz’s plea, prosecutors dropped charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. The judge also ordered Schmitz to undergo drug abuse treatment.

Tim Viox replaced Schmitz as head coach in 2015 and posted a 4-29 record in three seasons. The Wildcats finished 2-9 this past fall.

Contact Don Owen at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport

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