Will Steve Schmidt be a candidate for vacant EMU post?

Posted: April 7, 2011 by Jared Field in College

Steve Schmidt cuts down the net after the regional championship victory in March. (Mlive photo)

Though not in those exact words, I must have had six or seven different people ask me if longtime head coach at Mott, Steve Schmidt, would be a candidate to be the next coach at Eastern Michigan University.

If history is any indication, he probably will.

The last time a MAC head coaching position in Michigan opened up, at CMU back in 2006, Schmidt was a finalist. Since being passed over in favor of Ernie Zeigler, Schmidt has won 158 games (an average of more than 31 per season) and two national titles. Just this past March, his team finished second nationally with a record of 33-3.

I think Schmidt could immediately bring a spark to EMU’s program just like he has at Mott over the last five seasons.

Schmidt has three really important things going for him: Not only did he turn Mott into a JUCO powerhouse, but his brand of basketball is a product that people want to see. Finally, he has demonstrated the ability to not only graduate players, but to keep them in the sports section (not the news section) of the paper.

Even though it would be a great loss for the Flint area, EMU would increase its fan base by a factor of 10 overnight. There are no more loyal fans in this state than Schmidt’s.

Other potential candidates:

• Dane Fife, head coach at IPFW.

• Todd Lickliter, former EMU assistant coach. Also coached at Butler and Iowa.

• Dwayne Stephens, MSU assistant coach.

  1. hoopsguru says:

    JUCO to DI – I’m not seeing it – but strange things do happen from time to time – and yes – please I do know Mott has an excellent hoop program. I’m not knocking Mott or it’s coach.

  2. Jared Field says:

    Nolan Richardson made the jump.

    Sometimes I wonder why it is considered risky to take an established program-builder from a lower level and wise to take an assistant coach who is unproven in the corner office.

    But you’re right, it is atypical to make that jump. Luckily, his coaching resume is atypical, too.

  3. Illinoishoops says:

    STEVE SCHMIDT is PERFECT for this job. The guy has had a brilliant career and believe me, if you can win big at the junior college level, despite all of the obstacles you face, then you can win at ANY level. Especially one that provides support in areas you aren’t used to having it. Coach Schmidt has won national championships and brings to the plate what most coaches can’t…the ability to immediately bring in players that will quickly change both the face and culture of the EMU program. The man deserves strong consideration.

  4. Ty says:

    It would be a good move.

  5. Dantana says:

    I’m still mad that my alma mater CMU didnt get Schmidt. AD Heeke really missed the boat on that one.

    • Jared Field says:

      I think there was a great deal more pressure surrounding that hire than is customary. I think they went with what they considered the “safe” choice. In the end, it was probably also the wrong choice.

      If it’s me, I want the corner office guy. I want the guy calling the timeouts, making the roster changes and leading recruitment.

    • hoopsguru says:

      You don’t think Ernie is doing a good job?

  6. Do you think he might have a Doug Anderson trump card?

    Coach Schmidt obviously has the chops to coach a D1 program. JUCO to D1 is only a matter of the athletes playing the game. The game is the same game and he has proven he can coach it.

  7. Marcellus Miller says:

    I like Coach Schmidt for the job (or frankly the Kent State job too). He has one, probably the most important quality, he is a WINNER…you cannot dismiss that.

  8. JucoJunkie says:

    It would be a huge loss for Mott, but a great opportunity for a well-deserving coach. Of course it’s premature, but any thoughts on who would take his place if he does leave?

  9. fatman says:

    Schmidt shouldn’t take the job if it is offered. What he needs to do is stay loose one more year and he can get the job at his alma mater, like he should have five years ago.

  10. Andrew Secor says:

    From what I hear, Schmidt is not a serious candidate for the job. Sounds like DJ is the frontrunner. I don’t think Dane Fife would be interested, seems like a lateral move. Would like Ferris State’s Bill Sall to get a shot….

  11. Illinoishoops says:

    I disagree…I think if you look at what direction EMU went last time (Ramsey) it was a high major D1 assistant. Can’t see them going down the same road. Schmidt fits all the logical criteria…well connected to local players and a proven winner as a HEAD coach. Besides probably a smaller price tag than other names being tossed around.

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