Little did I know that I was going to be fortunate to watch Mark Schmidt mold himself into one of the greatest Atlantic Ten coaches to ever live. He certainly is the best in the history book of the Saint Bonaventure Bonnies. Yes, he is better than Larry Weise. No, he has not led his squad to the NCAA “March Madness” final four, but I believe he has left a bigger mark. Schmidt won the A-10 in 2012 and got the at-large to the NCAA “play in” game win against UCLA. The Bonnies had to travel from Dayton Ohio to Dallas Texas and play a game all in twenty-four hours after beating LSU. Schmidt now has 200 wins and is two away from becoming the winningest coach in school history. He will pass Weise once he does.
Schmidt has taken players who I never thought would see the professional landscape and turned them into pros. Andrew Nicholson played for the Orlando Magic after being drafted #19 and he is now playing in China. Most notably Jaylen Adams was signed as an undrafted free agent to a two-way contract. Adams has seen some time in the NBA already and was really impressive with the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA G-league. I strongly believe Schmidt molded Adams into what he really is.
It is not just what he does at St. Bonaventure that makes him the greatest. He helps the Olean Huskies and good friend Jeff Anastasia when he is able. Schmidt is a role model to the local players. He has been an instrumental part in his three sons development as hoop players. I also think he is the greatest because he gives all of the credit to his squad. Most coaches split the credit between the staff and the squad.
This past summer, I had the honor of meeting Schmidt and his wife when they were on an outing with friends. Schmidt took incredible pride in knowing that his fans completely support him. I think his recruiting is a key part of his success. He attracts kids who could play at larger schools.
Schmidt is a staple and will be for years to come. The rise to greatness continues Friday at Reilly Center against Davidson.