Duquesne women’s basketball has seen its associate head coach depart for NCAA Division-II program Wheeling University, as Matt Schmidt was named the 12th coach in Cardinals history.
“I had an opportunity to talk to all of the players over the last few days and it was amazing to me the type of people that I’ve been fortunate enough to inherit,” Schmidt said in Wheeling-issued press release. “You could tell immediately how much they care about the program, how much they care about their teammates, and how much they care about this school and community.”
Schmidt was assistant coach since the 2013-14 season when Dan Burt first was hired as Duquesne’s head coach. As part of Duquesne’s staff, Schmidt assisted Duquesne in earning an NCAA Tournament berth and four WNIT bids.
During Monday’s introductory press conference, Schmidt thanked many of those at Duquesne for helping him.
“Duquesne was a special place for my family,” said Schmidt. “We had such a great experience there for my wife and my two boys. We cherish it, all those memories, so thank you and we will miss you.”
Schmidt was the last assistant coach on staff from Burt’s hire, though current assistant Cherie Lea was also on staff. Additionally, two student-athletes from Burt’s opening season Vanessa Abel and Stasia King are on staff serving as assistant coach and graduate assistant respectively.
Tasked with running Duquesne’s offense, Schmidt led the Dukes to be one of the highest-scoring attacks in the Atlantic 10.
“We greatly appreciate everything Matt did for our program at Duquesne,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “He was an incredibly vital component of our success. We are very excited to see Matt reach his dream of becoming a head coach again, it’s well deserved.”
This is not Schmidt’s first time in the head coaching chair as he led Armstrong Atlantic State for five seasons. Additionally he served as top assistant at Northern Kentucky and in his final season, the Norse earned an NCAA D-II national championship.
Schmidt did serve as head coach for a 2018 Duquesne WNIT victory against Miami (Ohio) when Burt had to serve a one-game suspension.
As Schmidt discussed community relations and was concluding his remarks, he could not help but reference back to his time at Duquesne.
“A few weeks ago my son was selected to compete in a baseball tournament with some other kids in the league and they had practices,” he said. “At one of the last practices the coach asked to give him three number that you want to wear in your tournament. I asked him what numbers he gave coach and he said 21, 13 and I gave him 35. I asked him why those numbers and he said those are the numbers of Libby (Bazelak), Laia (Sole) and Amanda (Kalin) and those are the three (Duquesne) seniors. I love those people. It hits you in the face. I know the impact student-athletes have on young people, but when it’s your kid it really hits home.”