Joe Schlager pic

Joe Schlager named first Women’s Flag Football Coach in William Woods history

Joe Schlager has been named Head Women’s Flag Football Coach at William Woods University (WWU), Director of Athletics Steve Wilson announced today.

Schlager will bring to The Woods a year and a half of coaching Women’s Flag Football at the collegiate level, plus experience playing tackle football at the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level, to The Woods. He is the first head Women’s Flag Football coach ever at William Woods University, which is adding the sport for the first time in its history; the Owls will begin play in 2025.

“Joe Schlager is one of the bright flag football minds in this emerging sport,” said Wilson. “He is also a tireless recruiter who has been able to recruit and develop top-notch talent at his current position at Midland University. In our conversations and throughout the process, we learned that Coach Schlager will provide an unmatched program structure, and a winning culture that will set the tone for the start of this program.”

“At William Woods, our vision will always be one of pursuing excellence, both inside and outside the classroom,” said Dr. Jeremy Moreland, President of William Woods. “Coach Schlager understands that vision and will pursue it diligently as our first-ever head coach of Women’s Flag Football. We are excited to welcome Coach Schlager into the Owl family of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.”

Schlager recently served as Graduate Assistant Women’s Flag Football Coach at Midland University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) institution located in Fremont, Nebraska, for two seasons. His responsibilities included coordinating the offense and special teams for the Warriors, as well as on-field coaching; scouting and recruiting; and ensuring NAIA compliance and student-athlete eligibility.

“It is a tremendous time to be an Owl!” said Schlager. “I am incredibly honored and excited to be bestowed the opportunity to lead the Women’s Flag Football program onto the collegiate landscape. I fully believe in the leadership and direction provided by President Moreland and Steve Wilson. I am confident that WWU possesses, most importantly, the quality people, but additionally, the resources and desire to provide dedicated, purposeful student-athlete experiences and education. I am committed and motivated to developing high standards in the classroom, on the playing field, and in the lives of future Lady Owls!”

“Flag Football will provide many benefits for The Woods and its students, including financial benefits, increased school spirit, and additional opportunities for female athletes,” said Dr. Ted Blashak, University Vice-President and Chief Student Experience Officer. “We’re especially excited about the positive impact on the teachable moments outside the classroom this new program will provide.”

Previously, Schlager served as Youth and Adult Sports Program Director at the Ed Thomas YMCA in McCook, Nebraska, where he developed, organized and implemented high-quality youth and adult sports programs resulting in record participation by over 50% in one year including female participants by over 60%. He also has experience as an Operations Assistant for the football program at Colorado St. University.

Schlager received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Sport Management from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. A member of the football team at the NCAA-Division 1 FCS level school, he received the Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Coach Schlager will also receive his Master’s degree in Learning and Talent Development from Midland University in December.

In addition to Women’s Flag Football, WWU announced the addition men’s intercollegiate (tackle) football on May 22, 2023. The Owls will begin competition in tackle football in 2024.