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Authorities: Former coach Bill Schmitz dead after apparent suicide

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

Tragedy struck Land O' Lakes High School in Tampa, Fla. on Monday, as authorities confirmed the death of coach Bill Schmitz following an apparent suicide jump.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Schmitz drove his car to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge around 5 a.m. before leaving his vehicle and jumping over the side of the railing. His body was recovered four hours later.

Schmitz has a lengthy coaching resume that includes stops at Cincinnati, Rice, Vanderbilt and Eastern Michigan before getting his first head coaching job with the United States Coast Guard Academy. After getting the team into the NCAA Division III playoffs in 1996, Schmitz took a head coaching job with Austin Peay, where he remained until 2002.

His post-Austin Peay career included jobs as an offensive assistant at UAB and Penn, as well as high school gigs at Jesuit High School and Land O' Lakes in Florida. Schmitz's most recent position with the school included coaching track and teaching history.

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