TAMPA, FLA. — Bill Schmitz, the brother of Eastern Illinois baseball coach Jim Schmitz and a former football coach, has died at the age of 59.

His death was confirmed Monday after following an apparent suicide jump from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa.

A longtime football coach, Schmitz’s stops included Austin Peay when it went non-scholarship and played Eastern Illinois in a non-conference game.

“I am devastated about the news—it is just shocking,” said Austin Peay basketball coach Dave Loos, who served as athletic director during much of Schmitz’s tenure. “He was the man the university chose to lead the football program from the scholarship era to non-scholarship and the (Pioneer Football League). I have always said that from a technical standpoint that Bill had one of the best offensive minds around — he really knew the offensive game.

“As we come to grips with this, our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Schmitz’s post-Austin Peay career included jobs as an offensive assistant at UAB and Penn, as well as high school jobs at Jesuit High School and Land O’ Lakes in Florida. Schmitz’s most recent position with the school included coaching track and teaching history.

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