Shoultz, Hart sign letters of intent
Posted on: Feb 12, 2018
Two Delano High School athletes will continue their playing careers in college after signing national letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
Tucker Hart, who played both offensive and defensive end, as well as tight end, outside linebacker and long-snapper on the Tiger football team this fall, will play Division II football for Bemidji State University next year. In addition, record-setting Delano quarterback Michael Shoultz plans to continue playing football as a slot receiver for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Division III.
In addition to football, Hart has played hockey, baseball and lacrosse at Delano. Shoultz has been a three-sport athlete, playing basketball and competing in track and field.
Both coaches who spoke during the signing ceremony on Wednesday commended the athletes for playing multiple sports.
“It’s just becoming more and more of a rarity in high school athletics, especially at a school of our size,” said Mitch Rue.
“It’s a huge component in making a well-rounded athlete and human being. So I really commend the guys and girls who play three sports,” said coach Mike Shoultz, whose son by the same name was one of the signees.
In a brief speech before signing his letter of intent, Hart thanked his parents for their countless hours of dedication in enabling him to play sports, and his brother for always pushing him to improve.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me out with my athletic career,” Hart said, adding that the effort put in by his coaches “means a lot.”
As for those who played alongside him, Hart said he was at a loss for words.
“You guys are unbelievable. These past four years have been crazy, and you’re the best teammates,” he said.
Coach Shoultz said Hart was a key member of this year’s very successful football team, playing both ways.
“He is an outstanding football player. He could dominate a football game, and at times he did that,” Shoultz said. “Bemidji State is going to get a good football player. Division II, that’s a big step, and (he has) got the tools to do it.”
Shoultz also recalled Hart’s encyclopedic knowledge of the team’s playbook.
“Sometimes I didn’t even know what the play was (called by head coach Merrill Pavlovich), and at those times I looked to Tucker,” Shoultz said. “Tucker knew every play we ran whether you were an offensive lineman or a running back or quarterback. He always knew. Maybe he has a talent for coaching someday.”
Shoultz closed with a nod to the team’s overall accomplishments this year.
“I’ve been around football for a long time as a player and as a coach. This year was a very special season. We did things that, as a coach, I’ve not seen done before in Delano football,” he said. “The guys who were part of that football team were all a part of that.”
In his address, the younger Shoultz thanked his parents for their constant support, for bringing him to colleges around the Midwest to explore the next step, and for helping him maintain an even disposition between tough losses or great wins.
“I’d like to thank every coach who has ever coached me in any sport,” he said. “I’d like to thank every teammate I had over the last four years. I had the best offensive line for sure, and a great defense. I’ve been extremely blessed in every sport to have great teammates.”
Shoultz, who recorded more passing yards and touchdowns than any other quarterback in Delano history, said he chose Eau Claire because “it fit my liking socially, academically it’s a very highly regarded school, and financially it was a no brainer.”
His favorite high school football memory was the road win at Dassel-Cokato when a late touchdown pass to Calvin Wishart sealed the win in a back-and-forth contest.
“I’ll never forget the feelings of that night when Cal crossed that line. That’s probably the best moment I’ve ever had playing football, and I’m looking forward to making many more of those memories,” he said.
Rue, Shoultz’s coach in track and field, said he has enjoyed watching Shoultz develop from a ball boy in childhood to a high-performing varsity athlete in multiple sports.
“One thing I appreciate about Mike as a coach is he is ultra-reliable,” Rue said. “Nowadays we as coaches appreciate that more than anything. I know what I’m getting from him every day. I know he shows up every day. He’s on time. His work ethic -- he’s just a great person to be around. I really liked having him be with my younger athletes when we were doing drills or learning something new. I really trust him to be able to lead those kids through those types of things.
“I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work with someone of Mike’s caliber, and I think Eau Claire is really going to love having him there as part of their community and their culture. Congrats, Mike. We’re proud of you, and best of luck moving forward.”