By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio
St. Bonaventure fans and alumni breathed a big sigh of relief on Tuesday when it was reported and confirmed that Mark Schmidt would remain the Bonnies coach. Schmidt had been linked as a possibility for the Boston College job, but in the end he decided to stay in Olean, N.Y.
“It is an honor to be the head coach at St. Bonaventure,” Schmidt said in a press release on GoBonnies.com. “This is a fantastic university with passionate fans in a community my family and I are proud to call home.”
“We are thrilled that Mark has decided to continue as the head coach of our men’s basketball program,” athletic director Steve Watson said in the same press release. “He has done a remarkable job of building the program. We hope Mark will be our coach for a long time, and to that end, we have started discussions about an extension of our commitment to him.”
In the long run, this is a great move for both sides, a real win-win for the Bonaventure program and for Schmidt.
The Bonnies basketball program keeps the guy that took them out of the dark ages and back to national respectability. There’s no need to delve back into the problems the team and university encountered with the last two head coaches; they’ve been documented too much already.
But under Schmidt, the Bonnies have won and done it the right way. He’s both a good coach with a high basketball IQ and a professional person with great character. He’s a model of doing more with less, finding diamonds in the rough in recruiting to offset having one of the lowest basketball budgets in the country.
This year’s team was predicted to finish in the bottom three in the Atlantic 10. Instead, it finished 9th, beat two ranked teams and made it to the semifinals of the A-10 Tournament. That’s all a testament to Schmidt and his ability as a head coach. The university is very lucky to have him patrolling the sidelines for years to come.
As for Schmidt, this is the best move for him in the long run as well. While it’s hard to turn down your alma mater, the Boston College job is not the greatest one to have right now, especially with the recruits coming in to play at Bonaventure next year.
The Eagles were 8-24 this year and don’t look like they will compete for an ACC title anytime soon. The fact that every highly sought-after coach they were interested in turned them down shows that it’s not an ideal situation.
BC may be a prestigious school, but it was best for Schmidt and his family to stay where they were most comfortable and his job security is best.
In the end, coach Schmidt staying at Bonaventure instead of taking the Boston College job is a win-win for both his career and the university. With Schmidt at the helm, the Bonnies can continue the climb and get back into the NCAA Tournament.