The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 6, 2014

Ferndale grad aiding Duquesne women’s hoops

PITTSBURGH — Matt Schmidt was hired as an assistant coach for the Duquesne women’s basketball team in June.

Now the former Ferndale High School standout will have his first opportunity to experience March madness with the Dukes, who are the sixth-seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament which opened Thursday in Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va.

Duquesne (19-11) topped 11th-seeded Rhode Island (7-23) 61-53 in the opening round.

“We do like the matchup of the bracket that we are in,” Schmidt said. “During the course of the year, we went 5-1 against those teams and we think that we have some good matchups there.”

Dayton is the top seed in the tournament, but Schmidt said his team doesn’t want to get ahead of itself and is focused on preparing for the early rounds.

Schmidt came to Duquesne after former top assistant Dan Burt took over as the Dukes head coach last April.

“Dan and I have known each other for 19 or 20 years and we have a great working relationship,” Schmidt said. “Duquesne is a fantastic place to work and coach.

“We have high-caliber student athletes that have bought into what what we are doing from Day 1.

“This was a great opportunity for me.”

Prior to coming to Duquesne, Schmidt was the head women's basketball coach at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., the last five seasons leading the Pirates to 60 victories, 37 in the Peach Belt Conference.

In his first season at the helm there, Schmidt's team won a program-record 12 conference games.

Before going to Armstrong Atlantic, Schmidt served as the top assistant coach at Northern Kentucky for four seasons.

In 2008, the Norse were 28-8 and won the NCAA Division II National Championship. Additionally, Schmidt was on staff for the Norse's 2006 Great Lakes Valley Conference championship. He coached eight GLVC All-Conference players a total of 13 times. Overall, NKU was 92-32 with Schmidt on staff.

The former Yellow Jacket has also served as an assistant at Findlay, UMBC and West Virginia.

Schmidt graduated from West Liberty State in 1996 and earned his master's degree from West Virginia in 2000.

Matt Schmidt is a third-generation Ferndale graduate.

His parents, Paul and Vickie Schmidt, reside in Geistown while grandfather Herb Davis still lives in Ferndale and his sister, Amy, is a kindergarten teacher at Ferndale.

“For me, it’s been 16 years since I’ve been this close to Johnstown,” Schmidt said. “It’s been nice to come out and look up in the stands and see my grandfather and my parents or my sister in the stands,” Matt Schmidt said. “It’s been a thrill for me to see former teammates and classmates and so many family and friends.”

Schmidt said that many of the lessons that he learned in his hometown have helped to shape his current philosophies.

“I was always taught to give back and you want to make positive changes in whatever you do,” the Duquesne assistant said.

Schmidt and his wife, Brittany, have a 9-month-old son Jackson.


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