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UD’s Schmidt Named AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year

Thursday, December 5, 2013  
Posted by: Kari Lammer
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University of Dubuque defensive coordinator Mike Schmidt was recently announced as a winner of the American Football Coaches Association’s 2013 Assistant Coach of the Year award.  Each year, one assistant coach from the five divisions of college football is selected for his/her dedication to his/her teams and communities.  Coach Schmidt is a deserving winner for his attitude and commitment to the Spartan team.   

Coach Schmidt started at UD in January of 2009.  Prior to UD, he coached at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  Schmidt is a graduate of University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse where he was a three sport athlete in football, baseball, and hockey.   

After playing football in high school and college, Schmidt decided he wanted to coach so he could help others understand the values that football taught him.  "I coach and I’ll coach the rest of my life because I can never give back to football what football gave me. Football taught me about values and relationships.  I want the guys (football team members) to have the same type of experience,” explained Schmidt.

Since Schmidt has been at UD, he has coached every position.  However, in order to teach, Schmidt knew he needed to pursue a graduate degree.  He was considering enrolling in the MBA program at UD when he was encouraged by President Bullock to explore opportunities in the seminary.  So he did.  Schmidt determined the seminary was a great fit for him and is currently enrolled in the master of arts degree in missional Christianity.  "I’m so grateful to be in this program.  There’s not a coach in the country with this opportunity,” Schmidt said.  Schmidt believes that his educational pursuits were part of the reason he was selected for the award.   

If coaching and being enrolled in classes isn’t enough to keep Schmidt busy, he also has a wife and two young children at home, is on the road recruiting, and spends a significant amount of time involved in service projects for the school and community.  Schmidt says the key to balancing it all is working hard.  "I work hard, I’m not good at a lot of things, but I work hard.”  And that is a lesson he hopes to portray to the players through example.   

Another way he hopes to lead by example is through his volunteer efforts.  Schmidt is an active volunteer with Eastern Iowa Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, Wendt Character Initiative Advisory Board, Bi-Annual Campus Coat and Shoe Drive, several ministry organizations, and the AFCA as a member of the Convention Services Committee. "With a new-born at home, I’ve scaled back some volunteering and service projects. I’ve focused on lining up service projects for players and they are hungry for those ways to give back,” explained Schmidt.  

Schmidt’s long term goals are centered on God’s calling.  "I’ll go wherever God needs me.  My calling right now is to be at UD, coaching the football team. The biggest change in my life is understanding it’s not about me, but where I’m being called.”  Schmidt also adds that a national championship for the UD Spartans is a goal as well.     

Schmidt is honored to receive this outstanding award, but says the award shouldn’t be about him. "I appreciate it, but I don’t feel like I deserve it.  I don’t coach for recognition, I coach for players.”  

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