The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

Meet the Staff
Nathan Friedman
Nathan Friedman

Nathan Friedman is a sophomore at Free State and it is his first year on staff as a photographer. He is also involved in swimming, theatre, and baseball. Outside of school, Nathan enjoys being outdoors,...

PROFILE: Shine on, Shotty

Whether as a coach, substitute teacher, or friend, Daniel Schoettemer’s goal within the community is to be helpful and accepting to all that he can be

With initial plans to be in Lawrence only for a short period of time, JV soccer coach, West Middle School basketball coach and occasional substitute teacher Daniel Schoettemer was prepared with escape plans to move back to Indiana in 2015.

According to Schoettemer, his swiftly developed friendships through his involvement in a church and subsequent opportunities to coach upended his initial scheme of an early departure.

He decided to give Lawrence a chance — and it repaid him.

“I did not feel super qualified … It felt like a leap of faith knowing that the first year I would likely be coaching guys whose soccer IQ was higher than mine,” Schoettemer said. “It took a lot of convincing, but I decided to apply, and I got offered the job, leaving the interview. The fall of 2019 [I] started as a coach at Free State.”

Schoettemer’s approach to coaching is hard to find in other places. He said his love for teaching and fostering relationships with his players and students has sprouted a career involving mentorship, and he has found the parallels between coaching and mentorship to be immense.

Through this, he said he has placed an emphasis on his team’s chemistry and camaraderie and said he aims to help his players understand that the most important part of their experience, more so than winning, is their shared experience with one another.

“[Chemistry] definitely is the most, at least in my life, endearing part of sport … ​​You can have the most successful season but it could still feel kind of empty without brotherhood and bondedness,” Schoettemer said. “A lot of coaches probably undersell how bonding off the field can really help you win games on the field.”

Schoettemer said that this approach has been fruitful during his experience as a coach, and it helps him to achieve an almost total buy-in from his players.

“If you know the guys that you’re playing with, and you care about them, and you know the best parts of their life and the more difficult parts of their life, you will go to war for them, right? And then suddenly, it doesn’t become just about you, but you’re playing for ‘this’,” Schoettemer said.

Schoettemer said that his reason behind his loving philosophy, however, is deeply rooted in his upbringing and his own particular experience as a teenager trying to navigate the looming expectations of high school.

“When I was in high school, I felt constant pressure to be good enough, like I had to earn people’s love. I wanted to be perfect on the soccer field and succeed in the classroom and build a resume that colleges couldn’t say no to — and that led to a lot of insecurity — nothing ever felt good enough, and there was always a next thing to achieve,” Schoettemer said.

Schoettemer realizes the negative impact that his experience had on him, and he also understands that his experience is shared with so many students — and perfectionists — like him all over the community.

Through his developed Christian faith, he has developed his own virtues of altruistic love, and they have trickled down to his players.

“Learning about God’s unconditional love helped me so much — learning that I’m loved and accepted apart from the things I do felt so freeing, and I hope that Free State students have experienced a little bit of that kind of love from me,” Schoettemer said. “You don’t have to be perfect or popular or put together to be worthy of love.”

Schoettemer doesn’t spend much time thinking about his legacy, but he is certain that he wants people to know that he has always had their back.

“I would want you guys [his students] to say that you always felt supported and rooted for, that I was a safe person and somebody you could go to and that there was an eagerness to share that space because of the belief that you felt,” Schoettemer said.

About the Contributors
Nick Sprecker
Nick Sprecker, Sports Editor
Nick Sprecker is a junior at Free State and is the Sports Editor on staff. Outside of journalism, he is a member of the boys football and soccer program. He is involved in multiple clubs, LINK, and NHS.
Mallory Thompson
Mallory Thompson, News Photo Editor
Mallory Thompson is a junior at Free State. This is her second year on staff and she is Photo Editor for the Free Press Newspaper and Online. Outside of journalism, Mallory is involved in LINK Crew, National Honor Society, and the Student Library Advisory Board.
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