Mark Schwab said his decision to step down as Buena Vista wrestling coach effective May 31 - announced by the school Tuesday morning - was more of a life decision than a wrestling decision.
"I'm here until the end of the semester, and after that we'll see," said Schwab, who has guided the Beavers the past three-plus seasons, with career records of 41-34 overall and 14-15 in the Iowa Conference.
Schwab has had an extensive career in wrestling, dating back to his high school days as a four-time state champion from Osage, Iowa. He was also a two-time All-American at the University of Northern Iowa before beginning his coaching career. Prior to his stint at BVU, Schwab coached at UNI, Purdue University and the University of Minnesota.
However, wrestling may or may not be included in Schwab's future plans.
"I'm definitely looking at different things, but the things I'm looking at aren't with wrestling," Schwab said. "In or out - whether I'm coaching or not - I'm fine with it either way."
Josh Murray, a 174-pound senior from Des Moines Roosevelt whom Schwab convinced to wrestle at BVU, said he was initially surprised by the resignation.
"But," said Murray, "after he gave his explanation, it makes sense. Here in Storm Lake there's not much to do outside of focusing on your career, and I think he's trying to phase out of wrestling. It's been a long road and he was always there. And he helped the program grow from 13 when I started to over 30 now."
"I would like to thank Coach Schwab for the efforts and leadership he's shown and put forth while guiding the Beaver wrestling program over these last four years," athletic director Jan Travis said in a statement. "We hate to see him go, but want to wish him the best in all of his future endeavors."
Schwab became just the second coach to lead the Beavers since the start of the 1978-79 season when he was hired in 2004 following the retirement of legendary coach, Al Baxter.
The 2007 Iowa Conference Coach of the Year has seen his squads improve from a pair of seventh-place finishes to last season's fourth-place finish at the Iowa Conference Championships.
The same can also be said at the NCAA Tournament, where his squads placed 30th and 21st, respectively, in his first two seasons, and climbed to seventh a year ago.
Schwab says he will step down with plenty of good memories from his time guiding the Beavers.
"Just little things like the guys turning the corner and the cohesiveness of the team. It's things like that that make (coaching) worth it," Schwab said. "There were sure a lot of good moments here," Schwab said. "What I consider best moments are small things overall - like guys breaking through, winning hard-fought matches. I loved it when we could celebrate as a team."
BVU's seventh-place team finish at the 2007 National Tournament was the program's highest since placing fifth back in 2002. BVU's fourth-place finish during last year's Iowa Conference Championships was its highest since taking fourth in 2001.
To this point, Schwab has coached one individual conference champion and five All-Americans during his tenure, while also having a pair of wrestlers earn Scholar All-American accolades and one earn Academic All-Conference honors.
"It was a very challenging experience, and there is an awful lot to being a head coach in any sport; much more than most would think," Schwab said. "With the three recruiting classes we had in, it was interesting to see just how much an individual differs from the next but yet how predictable we can all be.
"This experience was a hands-on dealing with people in all their stages of highs and lows. It's personal education for future endeavors."
Schwab revealed his decision to the team prior to the public announcement, and does not anticipate any difference in the team's performance for the three remaining regular-season meets.
"I think it would be an excuse if it affects them," Schwab said. "People are going to come and go, that's life."
Said Murray: "It won't affect the rest of the season because we're still trying to achieve our goals. He's still going to be here and he'll still be our coach, but some of the younger guys are taking it pretty hard."
"We are very sad to see Coach Schwab step down," said BVU President Fred Moore in a statement. "He has led our wrestling program with tremendous distinction and character. At the same time, I understand his desire to start a new chapter in his life and wish him well."