HUNTERSVILLE – Mark Steele was promoted to coach Lake Norman Charter's varsity football team when Bob McKay resigned after last season.

The new position has brought many tasks. Steele must coach the team and make the schedule. He must also be at every meeting relating to football.

“It has obviously brought on responsibility; you don’t realize when you’re a position coach, how much time that’s going to go into being head coach," Steele said. "As a position coach, you don’t have to wonder every day what you need to be doing.” 

He plans to take the team farther in the playoffs and work harder in the conference. Last year’s team had a 5-7 record and didn’t make it past the first round of the state playoffs. Lake Norman Charter's team is small, which makes a huge challenge in being able to compete with schools that have larger rosters players.

“We had a good season, struggled in conference play and lost the first round of the playoffs, but we are planning to build off that,” Steele said.

This is his second year with the school. He was a defensive coach for the junior varsity team and worked with the varsity team coaches. Before Lake Norman Charter, Steele coached back home at Webster Schroeder High in Webster, N.Y. He has been coaching football for 12 years.

Steele has a goal to make the team a family. He wants a lot of positivity so the players will want to be part of the team. He also wants to build character so the players will have good qualities. This will help the players in the real world as citizens. He wants to pass on the values of character he learned when he played to those he is coaching.

He played four years in high school and went on to play college football with Saint John Fisher College. He was soon contacted about coaching and decided that was his calling.

“My old high school coach contacted me about coaching. I then took off a year from college and the following spring I started coaching,” Steele said.

He moved to North Carolina seeking job opportunities. He has made many friends as a teacher and coach at Lake Norman Charter.

He also wants to make sure his players are good students. He knows that a small number of players will advance to college football and wants to make sure the players are prepared for life after football.

“We have very strong academics at this school, so we pushed lifting and workouts to a later time in the afternoon to make sure students can get to their tutoring and study hall,” Steele said.

Knights athletic director Matt Schlegel believes hiring Steele will help the team. Schlegel believes the coaching and teaching style of Steele will benefit the school, too.

“I know the program he was part of before he came here and that’s my beliefs and what I wanted here,” Schlegel said.