It’s a rare honor for any coach to be able to do what he loves best on a court that bears his name, in a building branded by his reputation. The Steve Schmidt Gymnasium at Mott Community College isn’t a household name like Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke or Rupp Arena at Kentucky, but in junior college circles it’s known as the Schmidt House – the home of the national champions.
It was an honor bestowed upon one of the winningest coaches in the history of JUCO basketball, and one that he, unlike the aforementioned legends of the college game, got to experience in the prime of his career. Consider that Schmidt has won 182 games since the spring dedication ceremony in 2009.
And he’s not even close to finished.
Schmidt has been at the helm of one the most consistently successful basketball programs at any level for 26 years. Since taking the reins at Mott in 1991, his teams have won four NJCAA national championships and an astounding 80 percent of their games. He has amassed an incredible 688 wins in his career, putting him in an elite fraternity alongside legendary JUCO coaches like Gene Bess and Bob Kirk. Schmidt, for his part, has more national championships than Bess and Kirk combined.
Then, they did it again.
The Bears won 35 more games in 2008 against only two losses and finished off a 33-game winning streak in the national tournament with their second national championship in as many years.
In 2012, Schmidt’s Bears just missed a perfect season, finishing with a 35-1 record and the school’s fourth national championship.
As you might imagine, the program holds many national records including the highest winning percentage in the history of the national tournament. Schmidt has been named NJCAA National Coach of the Year four times – also a record.
Schmidt is a member of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame, the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame. In 2016, CoachStat, a national basketball coaching publication, ranked him as one of the top five JUCO coaches in the nation.
Coach Schmidt takes a great deal of pride in helping student athletes develop as players and people in order to attain their goals at Mott and beyond. During his tenure, at least 85 former players have had the opportunity to continue their careers at four-year colleges and universities. Four players have been named NJCAA National Player of the Year en route to the next level.
Schmidt’s tireless enthusiasm for coaching is manifest at Mott—on the court and in the classroom—where discipline, unselfishness and accountability are the “Bear” essentials.