MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday night, Eden Prairie will try to win its fourth-straight state title in football.
There are a lot of reasons why the Eagles have had so much success. One of them is a man you’ve likely never heard of — but his impact can be seen in every game.
You probably know Coach Mike Grant, son of Vikings legend Bud Grant. He’s the winner of the last three state titles.
But many don’t know Lyle Schuette. He doesn’t coach a position, or age group, or get paid.
“I just love being here,” Schuette said.
He’s 77 years old, and has been with program since the mid-90s.
“Lot of people at my age aren’t even living (laughs),” Grant said.
He’s a retired bus driver with no official job title.
“I just fell into it, just luck,” he said.
Mike Grant says Eden Prairie wouldn’t be winning without him.
“He’s a mainstay of what we do, and certainly a popular guy,” Grant said.
All the players know him, and he knows every player — by name.
“And [he] knows them well enough to put an arm around them and encourage them every day,” Grant said.
He studies their names like they do their playbooks, so he’ll always remember.
“When the New Year comes, right away I’m on it,” Schuette said.
And he carries a roster in his pocket at all times, in case he ever forgets.
“I love to talk to every person on the football team, some time or another,” he said.
“Starters get more attention than the people that are on the sideline. But what I try to do is get the people on the sidelines, because they’re as important as anyone else on the team,” he said.
From the stars to the sidelines, he knows what’s going on in each of their lives. And they know he cares.
“Not just in football, but in everything. And when you have that, they think it’s a great place to be, and I think we’re more successful because of it,” Grant said. “You need people like him around.”
Schuette says he hopes he’s touched a part of all of their lives.
Eden Prairie battles Totino-Grace for the 6A title Friday night.
After that, 42 seniors will graduate, so Coach Lyle will have to update his roster and start memorizing all over.