New Berlin West's Scheel takes the next step
He takes over as athletic director at Racine St. Catherine's
It began about three years ago for Corey Scheel, New Berlin West physical education teacher, girls basketball and softball coach, when he thought about the next challenge in his life.
After three years of searching, he took the next step in his professional career on March 1, accepting the athletic director's position at Racine St. Catherine's High School.
"I played against them in high school," said Scheel, a Milwaukee Lutheran graduate. "We were in the old Metro Conference. I think it was meant to be. I feel God has a plan for me. It was a great fit for me.
"A few years back I started looking into the AD area," Scheel said. "I decided I wanted to stay with sports in high school, maybe college, something in campus recreation."
Scheel had his administrator degree, but ran into the problem most people do — he didn't have the AD experience, which he wouldn't have unless he had the chance to do the job.
Coaching is what kept the 34-year-old Scheel going the past few years.
"I wanted to do something different (than teaching physical education)," he said. "My (coaching) staff, my kids, became my passion."
Scheel is looking forward to his new position, which officially begins on Monday.
"The organization part; I love that," he said. "Putting together a staff, one of my first jobs is hiring a baseball coach."
Scheel did an excellent job of turning around the softball program and then carried on the winning tradition in girls basketball that Jef Radtke had started.
Scheel, who had coached baseball in his previous job, was interested in coaching at West. When baseball coach Tom Farina had no openings, he referred him to his assistant Mike Neuens, who coached the softball team.
"Neuens set me up to take over the softball program, meet the right people, get the right opportunities," Scheel said. "It was my first head coaching job and that was one of my goals."
Dominant in softball
Scheel had a 94-41 overall softball record, a .712 winning percentage. He had three seconds and two conference titles. This past season West finished third, but won the regional and sectional championships and went to state for the first time.
Scheel went out of his way to praise the New Berlin Magic, the softball feeder program, along with several parent coaches.
"The dedication and commitment were not there then like it is now. Back then they just would go out and have fun. Being competitive was most important, I learned as the girls did."
West assistant Greg Klotz, who was heavily involved with the youth programs, and got more New Berlin West kids deep into the youth program and that made a big difference.
"The dedication from the kids, the parents, the coaching staff and the community is awesome," Scheel said, once more spreading around the credit.
Scheel was also coaching JV boys basketball, finishing 15-3 in his final year (2008-09) when he noticed Radtke watching his practices during the season. Radtke had some changes coming up in his business life and wasn't going to be able to put in the time as a head coach.
"He felt I would be a good choice to take over the girls program," Scheel said. "I had some of the girls in class. It was the best decision I ever made."
A new role
Scheel felt a big responsibility to take on Radtke's program.
"That he would have that much confidence in me taking over a program that he built back up; he changed the culture and entrusted me to take it. Being a head coach was one of my goals, so I jumped at it."
Scheel had a .642 winning percentage in basketball, compiling a 61-34 record. The Vikings finished second twice under his leadership and won a regional championship two years ago, the first for West in over 10 years.
"Not winning a conference championship and not beating Eisenhower were my biggest disappointments," he said. "Eisenhower is the only team I never beat — not counting Pius, who just joined this season.
"Not coaching basketball will be the toughest thing to give up."
Time to reminisce
So now it's time to look back one last time, at the staff and the kids.
"My seven years at West meant a lot in a lot of different ways," Scheel said. "It opened the doors to what I have today, especially in coaching. Jef (Radtke), Tom (Farina), Mike (Neuens) and (athletic director) Julie (Krader) were all huge with building relationships and helping me meet my goals. I'm grateful for that opportunity.
"My relationship with the kids is important. "They still come back — through texting and Facebook. I'm so grateful for all of that. That's what I'm going to miss.
"I want to be invited to their wedding someday because that tells you you made that much of an impact. Working with kids and building those relationships, the success was second to doing all those things."
Scheel then shared a message he gave at his final basketball banquet.
"I told them, 'Don't cry because it's over, but smile because it happened. I may be becoming an Angel, but I will always be a Viking.'"
THE SCHEEL FILE
FAMILY: Wife, Laura, children, Brendan, 5, Caleb, 3.
HIGH SCHOOL: Milwaukee Lutheran (1997)
COLLEGE: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (2002)
Holman High School — Freshman boys basketball (1999-2001)
Hemet (Calif.) High School — JV football and middle school boys basketball (2002); JV boys and assistant varsity basketball (2003-06)
West Valley High School (Hemet, Calif.) — Varsity assistant for girls softball (2004)
New Berlin West High School — JV boys basketball coach (2006-08); varsity girls basketball coach (2009-2013); varsity assistant softball coach (2007); varsity softball coach (2008-2013)
2009-10: 16-8, second place
2010-11: 14-9, third place
2011-12: 18-7, second place, Regional Champs
2012-13: 13-10, fourth place
Overall: 61-34, .642 winning percentage
2008: 11-10, second place
2009: 13-10, second place
2010: 14-8, second place
2011: 18-4, Conference Champion
2012: 19-5, Conference Champion
2013: 19-4, third place, Regional, Sectional Champions, State semifinalist
Overall: 94-41, .712 winning percentage
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