ABERDEEN, So Dak. (Northern State Press Release) Northern State University Director of Athletics Josh Moon announced Mike Schmidt as the next head coach for Northern State football this afternoon. Schmidt is the 30th head coach in program history and only the seventh coach since 1980.
"I am excited and honored to be the next head football coach at Northern State University. I can't wait to lead NSU Football as we take the next step in pursuit of greatness. Our family is thrilled to join the Aberdeen community," said Schmidt. "This is a great opportunity. I am thankful to work with Dr. Downs and Josh Moon as we build a premier NSIC program."
Schmidt joins the Wolves after spending the last four seasons as head coach at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL), where he posted a 27-13 record overall. Schmidt's .675 winning percentage ranks third in school history. UWL won 15 league games over the past three seasons, matching the most league victories in a three-year span since 2004-06.
"Mike is an excellent coach, his records show that, but he's also shown an excellent track record of developing student athletes," said Moon. "We're excited to welcome him to Wolves Nation!"
A total of 47 All-WIAC selections were earned in Schmidt's four seasons at UWL, including nine first team honors. Thirteen players were named to the 2019 All-WIAC Team, including four first team selections.
"Coach Schmidt knows what it takes to win. He also understands the importance of academics for our student athletes," said Dr. Tim Downs, Northern State President. "These are exciting times for Northern and Mike sees the momentum. He understands the important role athletics plays in the entire student experience. I cannot wait to see him lead the team into Dacotah Bank Stadium in two years."
The Eagles placed third in the conference standings in 2019, including a 31-3 victory over eventual co-champion UW-Oshkosh. UWL was ranked 25th in the final regular-season D3football.com Top-25 Poll while receiving votes in the final American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top-25 Poll.
"I believe Northern football is ready to take that next step," noted Schmidt. "From Dacotah Bank Stadium to the recently opened Athletic and Recreation Fields (football practice field), not to mention the overwhelming support of scholarships, we have what it takes to succeed at a high level."
A native of Menomonie, Wisconsin, Schmidt served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at UW-Platteville in 2015. Prior to arriving at UW-Platteville, Schmidt was the defensive coordinator and coached the linebackers and defensive backs at the University of Dubuque (Iowa) from 2011-14. He also served as the recruiting coordinator from 2009-14. Named the 2013 AFCA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year, Schmidt coached running backs (2009-10), defensive backs (2009) and offensive line (2010) at Dubuque (Iowa). He served as a graduate assistant coach at Minnesota State University Mankato in 2008, coaching the defensive line.
Schmidt and his wife, Morgan, have three children. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Missional Christianity degree at Dubuque (Iowa) Theological Seminary.
Mike Schmidt Year-by-Year at UW-La Crosse
Year Overall Record WIAC Record/Finish
2016 5-5 2-5/6th
2017 8-2 5-2/3rd
2018 7-3 5-2/2nd
2019 7-3 5-2/3rd
Totals 27-13 17-11
The Schmidt File
Career Record: 27-13 (.675)
Coaching Stops: UW-La Crosse, UW-Platteville, University of Dubuque, Minnesota State University Mankato
Four .500-plus seasons at La Crosse
47 All-Conference Players (UWL)
2 Conference Players of the Year (UWL / UWP)
1 All-American student-athlete (UWL)
2013 AFCA NCAA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year
What others are saying
"Mike is a passionate and hardworking professional who I respect! He will be an asset to the athletic department and represent the football program with class." – Todd Hoffner, Head Football Coach, Minnesota State
"Mike was my first hire when I got to the University of Dubuque in 2009. Mike is an outstanding Football Coach; his enthusiasm and knowledge is contagious. He also has a great family, which will be a great addition to the NSU family. But the most important thing I feel about Coach Schmidt, is he is a better person than he is a coach. I have coached for 45 years and he remains one of my favorite coaches of all time!" – Stan Zweifel, Head Football Coach at the University of Dubuque
"Mike is one of the rising stars in the coaching profession. He possesses a great football mind, and approaches everything with a contagious energy level. He is one of those coaches that players love to play for because of his positive approach, and unmatched energy level. He is a great recruiter and I have no doubt he will have an instant impact at Northern State." – Joe La Buda, Menomonie High School Head Football Coach, Five-time Wisconsin High School State Champion
"Coach Mike Schmidt is an excellent young coach who not only understands but appreciates the awesome responsibility that comes with being a leader of a program. Schmidty creates an environment for players that will be transformative rather than transactional. It's not the 'what' but rather the 'why' with Mike. The Wolves will not only be better players, and better students; but also better men on and off the field and throughout life. I'm thrilled for Josh Moon, the Athletics department, the Northern State campus and the entire Aberdeen community!" – Mick Miyamoto, Interim Director of Recreational Sports, University of Wisconsin-Madison