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Softball staff departs...and why

Jake Schumann is 40 years old with a wife and two kids. He made $59,721 per year according to Florida Has a Right to Know. That wasn't enough to support his family in South Florida, even in Pembroke Pines. and put away any money for college.

Which is why Schumann has left FIU at the end of his contract. The rest of the softball staff -- assistant coaches Gator Rebhan, Sharon Palma, Kelly Kretsshman -- have left with him. They've resigned after a 33-20 season, with a roster losing only two players and elite freshmen in Stephanie Texeira and Gabby Spallone. FIU has posted the job already.

"That's it," Schumann said. "Nothing else. Nothing juicy. Nothing crazy. Nothing that'll turn heads."

He said he'll move to being the associate head coach at Ole Miss, but insisted that's not about SEC but about $$$ -- more money, Oxford, Miss., college town cost of living.

Schumann said if that hadn't come up in the last two weeks, he'd still be leaving FIU for a more affordable job/area combination.

"I loved working there," Schumann said. "(senior associate athletic director) Julie Berg was one of the best bosses I've ever had."

He also talked up the building of new facilities for softball, the current players and the recruiting classes coming into FIU. 

I'd heard the Diamond Dinner, the main fundraiser for the baseball and softball programs, will end after next year. All over FIU's athletic department, money's already tighter than security at Langley. Despite going into Conference USA, baseball's operating budget dropped $5,480. Subtracting the lucrative Diamond Dinner would put both baseball and softball programs below the economic Mendoza line.

But Schumann didn't mention any of that. He just talked about the basic economic reality facing him.

This is the third head coach to leave FIU in the last 12 months and don't be surprised if baseball's Turtle Thomas is applying elsewhere. 

Men's soccer coach Kenny Arena left for a better opportunity with the LA Galaxy, where father and U.S. soccer coaching icon Bruce Arena coaches. Those who knew the situation figured Arena would be done with FIU in a year anyway, new soccer field or not.

FIU's mothballed the plan to turn the soccer field so that it's an east-west field and put a track in around it. But track coach Eric Campbell's resignation has to do with something nobody wants to discuss directly ("I really like him, but you can't allow that," one of Campbell's peers said) and is suspiciously absent from Campbell's personnel file. Whatever it was, count it as a last straw. A year earlier, Campbell was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly intoxication at the 2012 Louisville-FIU football game. 

FIU's going to have turnover just by nature of being where it is as an athletic department. Until it evolves further, it's a stepping stone or penance for most coaches, a longtime home for a few. You don't live in a Mercedes neighborhood on a Hyundai budget.

 

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