Mike Schonewolf

Mike Schonewolf

Caesar Rodney alum Justin Strickland remembered his coach Mike Schonewolf as someone who could use colorful, non-colorful, language on the practice field.

"He would look you dead in the face, and he wasn't a jerk or mean about it, but he'd flat-out tell you you played terrible, you're better than that. He didn't sugarcoat anything, he'd tell you what I needed to hear."

Schonewolf died late Tuesday night, according to a Facebook post made on social media by his wife of 25 years, Kristina.

"Last night a little after 11pm, my husband of 25 years met Jesus face to face," the post read. "It's unsure what happened...it could have been a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism. What's important to know is that Jesus was in his heart and in his life, and now there is nothing between him and his Savior!"

Schonewolf guided the Riders' football program for eight seasons, including the 2008 DIAA Division 1 Championship, and three Henlopen North titles.

His last Henlopen title came with Alex Kemp at QB, a future All-American WR at nearby Wesley College.

Kemp said he remembered his first exchange with Schonewolf showing off a little of his serious, but not completely serious, side. 

"I was a freshman, the only shirt I had was a Dover Basketball shirt. I put on this blue Dover Basketball shirt, and everyone was telling me I shouldn't wear it. I asked why, I didn't understand the problem. We get into the stretching line and Coach Schoney just starts going crazy, 'You take that blank, blank shirt off, who do you think you are?' He was just spazzing, and I'm forgetting I have this Dover shirt on, he's 15 yards away. I unbuckled my helmet, turned my shirt around, everyone's laughing. It was funny, but it wasn't funny at the time. I was just a freshman, and I didn't even know he knew who I was."

By sophomore year it was clear Schonewolf knew who Kemp was, and had had made him a starter. Kemp said his coach would pull him out of counselor meetings, to give his own counseling sessions about football and life.

"He knew his stuff, he knew football. He always asked about me and my family, he was just a great guy."

Strickland, who first met Schonewolf in youth sports while playing with Schonewolf's son, said his football coach was always something he could turn to, even after he was long gone from high shcool.

"He was ultimate competitor, but in the classroom, outside the classroom, or outside the building, he was so much more. He really was your friend. When you're in high school you never think of your teacher or coach as a friend, but he was always there when somebody needed him."

"He would come in screaming and yelling. Everyone would get scared and not want to say anything, just look at him. All of us football players, we were just laughing, we knew who he was, he had a great personality."

Tributes poured onto Schonewolf's Facebook page Wednesday, including from Justin's brother Shaun, the head coach at Milford.

"There are no words, I’m simply devastated... Thank you Mike Schonewolf for everything you have ever done for me and taught me, you gave me a chance, and you believed in me as a young coach, I am forever in your debt!"

Schonewolf, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native, joined the CR staff in 1991 before serving a four-year run on Princeton's staff.

He eventually returned to Camden in 1997, where he worked with the football, baseball, and boys lacrosse programs, and was even AD for the 2006-07 year.

Shonewolf retired after the 2014-15 school year, and retired to Florida.

He was 63 years old.