Mike Kraus announced he is stepping as South Carroll football coach after five seasons at the helm and more than 20 with the program. He informed the school of his decision earlier this month and recently met with the team to tell them.
Kraus went 31-18 since taking over the program in 2018. In 2021, he lead the Cavaliers to a 12-1 record, the Carroll County championship and an appearance in the Class 2A/1A state championship game, where the Cavaliers fell to Dunbar.
This past season, South Carroll went 9-2, earning a share of the county championship and advancing to the 2A/1A state quarterfinals before losing to Harford Tech.
Kraus joined the program as an assistant in 1999 under Gene Brown after previously coaching youth football in the county.
Kraus told the Carroll County Times a combination of needing a knee replacement, plus the changing landscape of high school sports, made it the right time to step away.
“In the world today, my old-school coaching ways have seen and ran their course,” he said. “I just think it was time for a change and a new vision there at South Carroll.
“I still love coaching. It really was just, the time, the knee and I’ve seen the mountain top. I really wanted to go out on my own terms.”
South Carroll athletic director Tim Novotny said Kraus will definitely be missed.
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“I’ve known Mike for a really long time. The man, he’d do anything for South Carroll, he bleeds black and gold,” Novotny said. “He did almost anything he could for that program. Leaving with his head held high, accomplished a lot. I’m definitely proud of what he was able to do while he was there.”
Kraus, who led the program through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, said it was nice to have one final “normal” season to end on.
“I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years now,” Kraus said. “Having that opportunity to go out with a full year behind us and have a good season with a good group of young men, I felt it was a good thing and a good time.”
Novotny said the process of finding a replacement is underway and he received “good interest” in the position. He expects to conduct interviews soon and looks to have a new coach set by mid-April.
Novotny said beyond Xs and Os, there are traits he is looking for in a new coach.
“I want someone who’s student-centered,” Novotny said. “At the end of the day, these are student-athletes. I want someone who has their best interest as No. 1, and their best interest over wins and losses. Someone who understands you’re forming these kids for the future. There’s a lot more responsibility than day-to-day work or game day set up. You’re setting these kids up for success in the future.”
Novotny said while the search is going on, Kraus’ assistants have stepped up to handle offseason communications and the weightlifting program.