Kruse, 34, spent two years coaching the NMCC basketball program after a successful coaching stint at Twin Rivers High School.
NMCC High School principal Joby Holland said Kruse's decision to step down was a difficult one, but had nothing to do with outside pressure to win.
"He just wanted to get into administration -- he was coming back to coach next year without any hesitation," said Holland. "An opportunity came up and he put his name in the hat and got the position. Scott has a lot of leadership ability and is one of the finest people I know. It was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. He really enjoyed the kids we had and enjoyed being around them. It wasn't a decision that was easy for him."
Kruse said he didn't envision getting into administration two years ago when he took the NMCC job.
"I've always enjoyed coaching, but the opportunity was so good and was something that I couldn't pass up," said Kruse. "I absolutely love the school district. I don't believe in sitting back on the sidelines and not going after an opportunity like this."
Holland said a new coach could be named within the next month. The school board won't meet again until April.
"We're just going to open it up and see what interest is out there," said Holland.
NMCC assistant principal and athletic director Lennies McFerren, who led the Eagles to two state championships in 2000 and 2001, has been rumored to be getting back into coaching.
"His name comes up with a lot of jobs that come open," said Holland. "The only way Lennies will get back going again is if the candidates aren't there to take the spot. He'd rather have somebody come in to take the program for a long haul. Coach McFerren has got a lot to give and we'd be lucky to get him back as our coach, but at this point it's just speculation."
A new coach will be the fourth different one NMCC has had since McFerren retired in 2001.
Holland coached the Eagles for one season, leading them to a 28-4 record and a second place finish at state in 2002.
David Fields then came on board for one season as the Eagles finished 9-16 in 2003, leading to Kruse's hiring.
Following the most successful run in school history from 2000-2002 in which the team went 74-17 with two state titles, NMCC has fallen on hard times the last three years, posting a cumulative record of 23-53.
At NMCC, Kruse's teams posted records of 8-17 and 6-20. This past season, the Eagles stood at 2-19, but rattled off four straight wins until a district loss to Caruthersville ended the season.
"I had two tough years and this second one ended about as well as we could've hoped for," said Kruse. "I think it showed people that if you do keep working then good things can happen. Obviously I would've liked to win more. But the way we ended up made me proud. I haven't been more proud of a team I coached than this one. To go through two months of losing like we did and to continue to work -- I don't know if a lot of teams could handle that."
Despite two losing seasons, Kruse said he never once heard rumblings about winning more.
"When I came to New Madrid they said, 'winning's secondary but we want things done right,'" said Kruse. "We struggled to get wins but I got all kinds of support from that place. They backed up exactly what they said, and that's another reason I want to stick with them and be a part of this school system for a long time."
But Kruse also said he wouldn't rule out coaching again somewhere down the line.
"I wouldn't say never about anything," said Kruse. "But at the same time I'm not getting into this and then a year later try to get a job coaching. I'm going to give this a great chance."