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Steven Mueller has resigned as Valparaiso High School football coach less than three weeks after he was officially hired.

In a letter emailed to parents of players Tuesday morning, Mueller wrote, "I wanted to let you know how much I thought of your young men. They were incredible. I absolutely believe they have the potential to win state this year. I cherished my short time with them and only have the best intentions for them. I will let you know they are in great hands with Coach Marshal (sic). I think the world of him. He will keep the fire burning and the drumbeat beating strong. I wish you and the Vikings the best."

A football player told The Times that Mueller had recently placed signs around the school with expressions such as “Execute with violent precision” and “Impose your will.” Mueller told the players that the signs were intended to inspire them throughout the day, as well as the general student body. Some people, however, took the words in a different way.

A player said posters were put up around the school last week, and complaints began appearing on social media Monday.

Other signs read: "Be someone special," "Weakness is choice," "What we tolerate is how good we will be" and "All exclamation points."

"Team is rather PO'd (mad)," said the player, who asked not to be named. "We want answers and agree this is out of control. Lucky to have Bill Marshall here, because the administration would have one heck of a time trying to find someone that would want to coach here now. We enjoyed having Mueller around, he pushed us and got us fired up and you could just feel that energy."

A message left with Mueller was not returned and Superintendent Ric Frataccia was out of the office. Athletic Director Herb Hofer confirmed the resignation via email, indicating Marshall will be recommended for hire at the Feb. 22 school board meeting.

The resignation extends a tumultuous stretch for the program dating back to the week of the Class 6A sectional when then-coach Dave Coyle resigned.

"Coach Mueller was a great person and a great coach/leader for the short time that we had him for," said another player who asked not to be named. "He wanted to change Valpo football for the better and make all of us men better but obviously, as we have seen, people try to find disgusting and not good meanings in quotes or signs and so unfortunately he decided if he couldn’t be who he wanted to be, then he could not help us be any better and decided that Coach Marshall would be a better fit. … Mueller was a great person who tried to make us better but people didn’t like that."

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Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.