When Jamie Schultz and his friends would get together in first grade to play football at Cynthia Mann Elementary in Boise, Schultz brought along his own playbook.
From even those early days, coaching was something that Schultz wanted to do, a path he pursued despite not even playing in college.
A 2011 graduate of Bishop Kelly High, Schultz was named Idaho’s new inside linebackers coach last month, his first full-time staff position.
“I kind of just always wanted to do this, making up plays, playing video games, seeing those great Boise State teams when I was growing up, I wanted to be part of college football,” Schultz said. “To have my own room and be back in Idaho, I couldn’t be happier.”
Schultz is no stranger to Moscow, working as an undergraduate volunteer, then as a graduate assistant, from January 2013 until the end of the 2017 season. He spent last year as a graduate assistant nearly 2,500 miles away at UCF, as the Knights went 12-1.
“We had an opening and coach (Paul Petrino) looked at me and said ‘what about Jamie?’ And I right away told him to make the call, it was a slam dunk,” Idaho defensive coordinator Mike Breske said.
A member of Bishop Kelly’s 2010 state championship team, Schultz was too small to play collegiately, so he enrolled at Idaho. During his sophomore year, he sought out Petrino when he was hired to inquire about volunteering. Always in need of willing help, Petrino brought on Schultz and gave him the GA spot in 2016.
At the time, Schultz was the only defensive GA, so he said “it was a long two years,” but he had plenty of responsibility, from organizing scouting reports to breaking down film of future opponents.
“What’s exciting is that we know he cares about this program,” Breske said. “He’s a go-getter and we need grinders on this staff. He has an outstanding work ethic, which we saw from him wanting to volunteer and willing to take on assignments.”
With his time at Idaho, Schultz had plenty of connections, and a unique one got him to Orlando last year. Idaho’s video coordinator, Tim Jackson, had previously worked at Miami with UCF defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. Jackson helped initiate conversations, and Schultz was hired last January.
“People don’t realize how hard it is to win eight, nine, 10 games, and we won 12 last year — I learned from some of the best,” Schultz said. “I watched Boise State win 24 straight (2009-10), so to be up close on a team that won 25 in a row at UCF was incredible.”
Breske said Schultz has brought along some helpful ideas from UCF, namely how to combat the athletic run-pass option systems that permeate the Big Sky. He also said Schultz’s experience prepping for Navy will help the Vandals as they play an option team in Cal Poly on Nov. 2 this season.
Among the players Schultz will work with as the Vandals start spring practices Monday is Idaho’s top returning tackler, junior middle linebacker Christian Elliss (81 tackles). Another advantage the Vandals hope Schultz can bring is a recruiting edge. As a Boise native, he will focus on finding recruits in-state, something he is eager to do.
“The more I got involved, the more fascinated I became in recruiting,” Schultz said. “As a GA, you are pretty limited with how much you can recruit, so I can’t wait to do it. Treasure Valley, Magic Valley, Wood River Valley, I’m super excited to get out there.”
▪ The Vandals begin spring practices Monday afternoon. They will hold scrimmages April 5 and 12, then the annual Silver & Gold Spring Game on April 19.