Jim Schulte - Inductee - 2008

Jim Schulte got his first taste of organized athletics playing junior high football for the Scottville Blues under Coach Jim Lemire. At Mason County Central from 1966 to 1969, Schulte played two years of basketball, participated in track and field for four years, football for four years and wrestling for two years. “Football was my sport,” said Schulte, who played for Barry Aspenleiter, Sam Orton, Bruce Krieger, Don Peterson and ‘Boots’ Newkirk. Starting on the varsity at middle guard on defense and center on offense his sophomore year, he earned honorable mention All-Conference honors. He was first-team All-West Michigan Conference as a junior at middle guard and his senior season; he was All-Conference both ways, at tackle on offense and linebacker on defense. He also received All-State recognition as a senior. Central didn’t start its wrestling program until he was a junior and as an undersized heavyweight, Schulte qualified for state as a senior. Another big influence on Schulte’s lifetime career in football was fellow-MCC alum Mike Hankwitz. Freshman weren’t eligible to play on the varsity when Schulte went off to Central Michigan University in 1970, but he played three years on the varsity. He saw action at linebacker as a sophomore and, by his own admission, “I came into my own as a junior and a senior.” His senior year, he was the defensive captain for Central as the team’s starting middle linebacker and led the team in tackles with 153, setting a school record. The record was later broken by Ray Bentley who went on to play for the Buffalo Bills. He student taught and coached at Ludington High under the late Dave Goodell in 1974. Schulte moved back to Central Michigan University in 1975 and was a student assistant for two years under coaches Roy Kramer and Herb Deromedi. He then was hired to coach the defensive ends and in 1977, was rewarded with a full-time position as defensive line coach. During his 28 years at CMU, he was primarily a position coach, later serving as defensive coordinator from 1994 through 1997 and assistant head coach during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. During his CMU stay, the Chippewas won over 150 games and four MAC championships. At Central, Schulte tutored Cullen Jenkins, a starting defensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers and his last two recruits were Joe Staley, the first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, and Dan Bazuin, the second-round choice of the Chicago Bears. He also recruited Chad Pleiness, another of this year’s Mason County Sports Hall of Fame inductees. In 2003, Schulte became the head football coach and co-athletic director at Grand Rapids Community College. In his six years there, the Raiders are 36-16, and in 2005 were the national runner-up.