Edward (Coach) Schultheis, 87, Evansville

Edward Schultheis
Edward Schultheis

Edward (Coach) Schultheis, 87, Evansville, formerly of Jasper, passed away at his home on Thursday, September 8, 2016.

Ed was born on December 16, 1928, in Evansville. He was the son and one of nine children born and raised by Joseph G. and Lillian(Bengert) Schultheis. He was a member of St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville, where he faithfully and happily looked forward to attending the 9 a.m. Mass nearly every morning. He also attended Mass at Christ the King Parish in Evansville. On July 10th, 1954, Ed married his loving wife, Rose Ann Schmitt. They would spend 47 years of marriage together, proudly raising nine children, before her death on May 26th, 2002.

Ed lived a truly full, giving, and wonderfully blessed life:  a life filled with family, friends (he never met a stranger), teaching, coaching and athletics. He was just a purely genuine, good man. He never had a mean thing to say about anyone, and if you met him, you were immediately touched by his smile and essence.  The best way to say it, is that Ed made those he came into contact with, whether it be for a brief moment or extended time, feel good about the time together, and they never forgot it.

Ed attended Reitz Memorial High School and was a member of the graduating class of 1948.  It is at Memorial that he would earn a highly regarded reputation in the Pocket City and the surrounding area as an outstanding athlete, excelling at a high level on both the Tiger football and basketball teams.  During his time at Memorial, where he also served as the vice president of his junior class, Ed garnered numerous athletic honors.  He was a 2-year starter for the gridiron Tigers at Defensive End and earned honorable mention on the All-City Team in 1947 at that position.  He was proud of the team’s success and being the City Champs in 1946.  Ed also excelled on the hardwood court, where he was the top scorer in the city of Evansville during his junior season of 1946-47.  He would also go on and earn All-City honors in 1947-48.  He was a 3-year letter winner for the Tiger’s hoops team.

His success in athletics and the classroom would earn Edward an athletic scholarship to St Joseph College in Rensselaer, where he would excel in both football and basketball. He would go on to letter in both sports all 4 years, while also being named as a Little College Football All American Honorable Mention.

In 1996, with his entire family attending, he was inducted in to the St Joseph College Athletic Hall of Fame. Always a humble man about his personal accomplishments, it was during this process and enshrinement that his nine children really came to understand the success and accomplishment that Ed had achieved on the high school and college level. Up to that point the family only knew of his efforts of teaching, coaching and mentoring others to succeed.

It was also during his time at St Joe College that he realized he had a great inner desire to coach and teach.  He put forth his efforts in education to just that.  The teaching would have to wait, even with upon college graduation in 1952.  Like so many young men before and after him, he would have to fulfill his obligation to his country, and proudly serve and do his duty for America, in the military.  It was also during this time, based in Ft. Meade Maryland, that three very important events in Ed’s life would occur and cement his future path.   He would marry his wife of 47 years, Rose Ann, welcome their first child, Thomas, and begin his successful and passionate coaching career.  Teaching would have to wait until his military obligation was completed, but a coaching opportunity presented itself immediately.  Since he was a born and bred Hoosier, where basketball was king, his commander requested that he become the player coach for the camp basketball team.  Excited and also following “orders” he took the reins, and for the next 2-yrs.  he coached and played on the team that would post a 19-3 record and become “Post Champs”.  His kids would often joke with him that his military fighting was done on the basketball court.  After serving his time in the military, Ed, Rosie and his new family returned back to his hometown of Evansville in 1956, where he would soon begin his formal teaching career, while also being named head basketball coach at Mater Dei High School.  He would replace his longtime friend, Gene Logel, who would move to Memorial High School to begin his own highly regarded coaching career in football.  Ed would also serve as an assistant football coach for MD.  During his 3 -years stint at Mater Dei, Coach Schultheis’s career would begin to take off, as he helped to bring Mater Dei into basketball relevance in Evansville.  During his tenure as the lead hoops man at Mater Dei, Ed’s team would compile a record of 40-25, winning the first basketball trophy for the school with a Holiday Tourney Championship in 1959, and as Co-City Champs the same year.  As always, Coach Schultheis gave credit to his players such as Jerry Browning, Paul Gries and Gerald Seib among others.  In 1960 Schultheis received a call from the legendary Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Coach and 1949 Jasper State Championship Coach, Leo C “Cabby” O’Neill, who was now serving as Jasper Athletic Director, to move up to Jasper and become the assistant basketball and football coach to two future Hall of Fame Coaches, Barney Scott in basketball and a new young football coach named Jerry Brewer.  With a family that had grown from three to six and an opportunity that included a raise in pay, team Schultheis headed for Jasper.  After eight successful seasons as a football and basketball assistant, Ed was offered and accepted the head basketball coaching position at Jasper High School in 1967.  The Wildcats who had struggled in recent seasons, failing to get above 500 in the regular season, would begin the turnaround under Schultheis and his leadership.  Over the next 10 seasons, the Black and Gold Cats of Jasper, would go on to win 160 wins against only 73 losses.  Gaining state wide attention, Schultheis and his very capable staff of Rex May, Ed Yarborough and Dan Musselwhite, would win five straight Southridge Sectionals and 2 straight Washington Regionals, including the famous triple OT sectional championship vs Forest Park in 1975, and thrilling final second 1972 Regional Championship against Hall of Fame and All Time Indiana Wins Coach, Jack Butcher and his Loogootee Lions.  People still talk about Dave “Slick” Weber’s clutch free throws in the closing seconds of that regional game, as well as the thrilling moments in the sectional championship games that included Tommy Berger’s baseline game winner, the steal by Ed’s son Jim, and Terry Tucker’s tip in at the buzzer to propel the Cats to the eventual 3OT victory in 1975. During his time as the JHS Hoops Coach, Ed would be honored with 5 area “Coach of the Year” Awards, as well as the legendary nickname of the “Silver Fox” due to his sideline coaching moves and his changing hair color.  Even to this day, many still refer to Coach Schultheis and his tenure leading the Wildcat basketball program as the last of the “Great Coaches” in what was the “Golden Age” of Jasper Basketball from the 1940’s through the 1970’s.  The affection and admiration from players and fans was continually expressed throughout his life.

After leaving the basketball position and coaching in 1977 to become the Jasper Athletic Director, succeeding long-time friend and principal, Don Noblitt, Ed had compiled a head coaching record of 200 wins and 98 losses and a career to be admired and aspired to by those in and out of the profession.  He would continue his career of leadership success by helping to lead a Jasper sports program that would begin to dominate team sports throughout the Big Eight conference. For 16 straight years the Wildcat sports team would combine to win overall conference championships, year after year.

Upon his retirement from the Greater Jasper School Corporation in 1994, Ed had been awarded numerous honors and distinctions. Among the many, then Jasper Mayor, Bill Schmitt, presented Ed with the “Key to City” of Jasper.  He would also be selected as “Indiana Athletic Director of the Year” in 1992. Even still, in 2016, Coach Schultheis and his son, Coach Ken Schultheis, were both selected together as coaches for enshrinement in the inaugural Greater Evansville Basketball Hall of Fame.  Even with all his professional success, the most important thing to Ed was faith, family and friends.  His smile and genuine joy that he gave to others can’t be overstated.  He really enjoyed meeting people and spending time with family, former players, friends and professional relationships.  He was a person who always left you with more of him than he took from you.  The wonderful family gatherings, especially the rocking Christmas Eve get togethers in Jasper and Christmas Day in Evansville, will never be forgotten.  The house full of family, many friends and former players have created memories that can never be taken away, even through death.

Edward L Schultheis is survived by seven sons and daughter in laws, two daughters and son in laws who he was tremendously proud of; Tom and Janet (Oxley), Rick and Charmaine (Fromme) Indianapolis, Jim and Jackie (Schneider) Indianapolis, Ed and Bobbie (Baugh), Ken and Janet(Bartley), Don and Lisa (Haas) Indianapolis, John and Maria (Thyen) Indianapolis, Beth and Jim Burger and Jennifer and Jody Elston of Nashville, Tenn. Ed was also a beloved “Paps” & “Papaw” to 28 greatly loved grandchildren. And his loving companion, Jackie Koressel.

He was known to them for his positive spirit, loving smile and “killer” fried egg & sausage breakfasts. Saturday morning coffee in the kitchen with his sons and adopted family member, Mike Blake, can never be the same, but will be cherished forever.  Ed is also survived by one brother, Larry Schultheis and two sisters, Margaret (Harold) Schnur and Louise (Bill) Spahn.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Rose Ann, and three brothers, Joe (Marie), Fred (Dot), Leo and wife Marilyn and sisters, Rosemary Schultheis, Mildred and Dink Helfrich.

Funeral service for Edward L Schultheis will be held at 8:30 a.m. at Ziemer Funeral Home East Chapel, 800 S. Hebron Ave., Evansville and will continue with a Mass of Christian Burial at 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 12th at St Benedict Cathedral with entombment at St. Joseph Cemetery.  Fathers Tom Kessler and Ed Schnur officiating.  Visitation will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, at Ziemer Funeral Home East Chapel with memorial service for all family and friends at 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children and St. Benedicts Cathedral.

Condolences may be made online at www.ziemerfuneralhome.com.