Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt will be inducted into the prestigious Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) Hall of Fame as part of Saturday’s Big 33 game.
Mark Schmidt has a genuine commitment to his players and his program. That commitment has paid big dividends during his 18 years at the helm of the Neshaminy High School football program.
In 2001, the Redskins capped an undefeated season by winning the PIAA Class AAAA state title. Twice under Schmidt – in 2001 and 2004, the Redskins have captured District One titles, and on two other occasions – 2008 and 2010, they finished second in the district. The Redskins have captured the SOL National Conference title in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010.
For his success on the sidelines, Schmidt is receiving the ultimate honor on Saturday when he will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) Hall of Fame in Hershey, Pa.
“I’m very humbled by it,” Schmidt said of receiving the honor. “To have a successful program and to establish a successful program was a goal. To get this award was not a goal, but it’s a testament to the players in this school and the coaches who have been here. If it wasn’t for those guys, this wouldn’t have been happening.”
Schmidt, who boasts a career mark of 139-60, holds the record for most wins and most games coached in Neshaminy history. Five times he was named Bucks County Courier Times Coach of the Year, and in 2001, he was the Pa. Class AAAA Coach of the year and the Philadelphia Eagles NFL High School Coach of the Year. In 2004, he was name the All-American Football Foundation Eastern Region Coach of the Year.
Schmidt served as head coach of the Bucks County All-Star game in 1996, 2002 and 2008. In 2002, he was an assistant coach for the Big 33 game, and four years later, he was the head coach of the Big 33 game. In 2003, he was the U.S. Army All-American Bowl assistant coach, and he was the head coach of the 2010 New Jersey-Northeast All-Star Classic after serving as an assistant coach in 2009. In 2011, Schmidt served as an assistant coach for the Chesapeake Bowl.
Ten of his players – Antoine Lovelace, Jamar Brittingham, Keith Ennis, Kevin Kelly, Chris Daino, Tom McEowen, Jay Colbert, Dan Shirey, Corey Majors and Kiser Terry – have played in the Big 33 game.
Schmidt’s award will be presented in conjunction with this weekend’s Big 33 game in Hershey.
“I think we will be talking some other guys around here in the next couple of years,” Schmidt said. “There are some qualifications age-wise, years-wise and wins-wise, and there are certainly a group of guys who are on their way to getting to those levels.
“I think the SOL and District One has certainly spoken for itself in the postseason, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Several assistant coaches as well as former players paid special tribute to Schmidt, who has been coaching in some capacity for the past 30 years:
"I am very excited for Mark and his family as he receives the highest honor there is for PA football coaches. Mark gave me an opportunity at a young age to be part of one of the most storied programs in the state, and for that I will be forever grateful. Over the last eleven years I have witnessed first hand Mark's ability to improve countless players' performances - both on the field and in the classroom - well beyond even their own greatest expectations. I can honestly say that I do not know of a coach of any sport at this level who day in and day out works harder on behalf of his program and his players. Mark will be the first to deflect credit to the rest of the staff, but make no mistake about it - he is the engine that makes it go. His passion and enthusiasm have fueled the fire in Langhorne for the last 18 years, and hopefully will for many years to come. It has been an honor being on his staff."
Neil French Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
"I would just like to say thank you, because Coach Schmidt has done somuch for me in my high school and in my college career. Yes, I had myups and downs, but he helped me keep my eye on the prize. He made mefocus on my schoolwork and made me a better football player everytime I talked to him. As a college football player, I now realizehow well known Coach Schmidt and Neshaminy Football is. I will bewalking around with a Neshaminy Football hoodie and people will comeup to me and start asking me questions about the team. Another time wewere down in JMU and I was waiting for the ref to spot the ball, andthe ref looks up at me and says "Hey Shirey, you’re Coach Schmidt's guy, right?" He is a great coach who really cares about his players andreally deserves this award."
Dan Shirey - Captain of the 2008 Neshaminy Redskins, Captain of the 2012 Villanova Wildcats
"Coach Schmidt went out on a limb bringing me onto the team as a freshman, and in doing so, his leadership and guidance played a pivotal role in who I would become over the next four years at Neshaminy. For Coach and his staff, the goal has always been about teaching student-athletes about life and making positive contributions to society. The PSFCA Hall of Fame committee has made an excellent choice inducting Coach Schmidt as his impact to Pennsylvania High School Football will be remembered forever."
Kevin Kelly - Neshaminy Kicker 2001-2004, Penn State Kicker 2005-2008
"Coach Schmidt instilled confidence in his teams and players that transcended their level of play."
Andy Marino - Captain of 2004 Neshaminy PIAA AAAA State Finalist Team, Current Assistant Coach - University of Delaware
"Coach's on-field resume speaks for itself, but it's the things that he does for the players off the field that people don't see that make him special."
Keith Ennis - WR/DB 2001 Neshaminy State Championship Team, Current Neshaminy Assistant Coach
“Coach Schmidt is one of the greatest coaches because of the influence he has had on my life. Not only did he push me to reach my full potential as a player, but he taught me important lessons about discipline and accountability that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Greg Martell – Neshaminy Linebacker/Running Back 2005-2007, Ursinus College Linebacker 2008-2011, 2011 ECAC Defensive Player of the Year