Photo by Laura Eagle Left to right are: Gary Spani, Kansas City Chiefs; Andrew Pitts, St Michael’s Head Football coach; and Lamar Hunt Jr., St. Michael Interim President

December 18, 2021

By Fred Liggett

During his ten year stint as Kansas City Chiefs head football coach Marty Schottenheimer was a popular figure with both his players and fans. The reason for his popularity was the tremendous improvement Chiefs fans saw in the team starting with Schottenheimer’s arrival in 1989.

The Kansas City Chiefs organization starting this year decided to reward a local high school football coach who has brought the same amount of tremendous improvement to a program. The first recipient of what is called the Spirt of Marty award resides in Lee’s Summit. St. Michael’s Head Football Coach Andrew Pitts received the honor early this month at a winter sports assembly held at the school.

Coach Pitts said he first became aware of it at the assembly at St. Michaels on Dec. 3rd. Pitts states it was “a complete surprise.” Pitts admits the award “means a tremendous amount to me.” Former Chiefs Coach Marty Schottenheimer is someone that a younger Pitts admired. Pitts said of Schottenheimer, “A lot to do with my love of football.” Pitts is “Super proud of the award” and has taken the award home with him. Pitts feels “there are so many people deserve credit, players, parents, admin, should all be proud, a true team effort.”

The Chiefs said the way Pitts turned around the SMA football program reminded them of how Coach Schottenheimer turned the Chiefs around. The Guardians finished the 2021 season with the best record in school history and advancing to the team’s first ever district championship game. The idea behind the award came from former Chief Gary Spani who serves the team as Director of Community Engagement. Spani identified that in special cases outside of the team’s normal weekly coaching honors someone such as Coach Pitts be deserving of recognition. This new award is not meant to be an annual recognition but one where someone may not win it some years, other years three coaches may be honored.

Since St. Michael’s ended their season in a district championship game on Friday, Nov. 12 a lot has changed for Coach Pitts. Not only has he been named the inaugural Spirit of Marty award winner but he and his wife welcomed their first daughter, Stella Jean Pitts, into the world on Nov. 29th. Just another happy moment in 2021 for Coach Pitts and the St. Michael’s Guardians football program.