Marcus Schulz takes a great deal of pride in his job as a coach at Splendora High School, a profession that allows him to make an impact on the lives of young athletes on a daily basis.

That passion and leadership has not gone unnoticed, and for his efforts, Schulz was awarded the Zoe Simpson Coach of Influence award by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes East Houston Chapter earlier this week.

“I was contacted by Denny Schwartz, who is one of the area leaders for the FCA for East Houston Chapter,” Schulz said. “And when he contacted me and said, ‘Coach, we just want to make you a recipient for the award,’ I was obviously very taken aback. The Coach of Influence award, that’s a pretty good award, and the guy who they named it after, Zoe Simpson from Humble ISD, obviously represented somebody that influences the youth and our athletes. So to be a recipient of an award like that was an honor.”

Schulz serves as the head football coach and athletic director for Splendora, but beyond the day-to-day duties that his titles entail, he remains focused on preparing his athletes for life beyond high school. Being able to connect with them in a meaningful way is where that mission begins.

“You treat those kids like they’re your own and give them respect,” Schulz said. “We try to bring them up to be the best men and women they possibly can be, and we influence them by leading by example and not being afraid to share our faith and know that God is at the center of what we do.”

Splendora had a successful season on the gridiron this past fall, winning a district title and capturing the first playoff victory in the 71-year history of the program. Schulz received several postseason accolades for the Wildcats’ accomplishments, but the award from the FCA stood for something more.

The award Schulz received was named for Zoe Simpson, who coached the Kingwood High School cross country program to seven state titles and led the Humble ISD athletics department for nearly a decade. The honor was given to New Caney football coach Brady Pennington two years ago.

“I think the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a huge organization that mentors and models and leads, not only coaches, but also our athletes, by example of their faith” Schulz said. “I think that it’s something that all sports teams and all of our high school athletes, male and female, should be a part of, and knowing Jesus Christ, our lord and savior, is first and foremost, and knowing that everything that we do and the things that we achieve and accomplish are all due to him.”

Splendora has experienced a highly successful school year in athletics while returning to Class 4A, as all but one team has qualified for the postseason. Several individual athletes have been regional and state qualifiers along the way as well. Schulz expressed pride in what he and the rest of the programs have been able to accomplish and is looking forward to a bright future.

“It’s been an unbelievable run,” he said. “ … It’s fun to see the kids and the achievements that they’re having and the success that they’re having, and all in all, the the hard work, and the blood, sweat and tears, and the dedication that the coaching staff and the kids have put in over the years is paying off.”

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