Michael Schmidt, currently in his 10th year at Tufts, was promoted to Associate Head Coach for the Jumbos' Men's and Women's Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor Track & Field programs in the fall 2021.
Hired as a men's assistant in 2012, Schmidt eventually became the Director of Men's Cross Country and Head Distance Coach for Track & Field. He will now be working with the women's team as well, coaching cross country and distance runners in track. As he has been for a decade now, he will continue to be an asset working men's head coach Joel Williams and women's head coach Kristen Morwick.
"I am honored to move into this role as Associate Head Coach and to continue coaching the cross country and track & field teams here at Tufts," Schmidt said. "The Jumbo community is a special group to be a part of, and I am fortunate and thankful to be able to collaborate with Joel and Kristen as we all strive to keep growing stronger. My time at Tufts has been filled with inspiration from mentoring the hard-working, passionate student-athletes here."
In cross country, Schmidt's 2016 Jumbo team featured All-Americans Tim Nichols and Luke O'Connor, marking the first time in team history that two Tufts runners posted All-American efforts in the same NCAA race. Nichols, who won the NESCAC and NCAA Regional titles that year, finished third at NCAA's for the highest Jumbo finish ever. He was also selected as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Scholar Athlete of the Year. Tufts has qualified for the NCAA Championships as a team six times during Schmidt's tenure, including the 2018 team.
Coach Schmidt is part of the track & field staff which guided the Jumbos to two consecutive New England Division III indoor championships in 2017 and 2018. The 2018 team tied for 13th place at the NCAA indoor meet, the program's best NCAA team finish since 2007. Tufts was the highest finishing New England team at the national championship. For 2019, Tufts was the New England runner-up indoors and outdoors, as well as at the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championships. In 2020, Tufts' distance medley relay qualified for the NCAA indoor meet before it was canceled due to COVID.
Schmidt has been voted USTFCCCA New England Assistant Coach of the Year three times in track & field. He earned the honor for the outdoor season in May 2017, and in March 2017 he was the Region's indoor winner of the award for the second straight season. Jumbo distance runners have won five NCAA Championships under Schmidt's guidance. Mitchell Black was the 800 meters national champion indoors and outdoors in both 2015 and 2016. Nichols won the 5,000 meter indoor title in March 2017. O'Connor was the USTFCCCA New England Athlete of the Year in 2017. Under Schmidt's guidance overall, the Jumbos have broken 11 of 12 varsity school records in the mid-distance and distance events and earned 34 All-American honors in the distance track events, fifth-most among all DIII programs since he joined the staff in 2012.
"Michael Schmidt is an absolute rock star," Coach Williams said. "You can look at the number of All-Americans, All-NESCAC or school record holders that he has mentored, and you know Schmidty is a phenomenal coach, but it's the behind-the-scenes things that make him an amazing teammate. For the past 10 years, Schmidty has poured his heart and soul into Tufts' Cross Country and Track & Field and the programs are better because of that. Schmidty has been such a key part in the success for TUXC/TUTF and it feels amazing to be able to recognize his impact with this new role."
Schmidt is also an NCAA Division III Cross Country Executive Committee member as an East Region representative.
A Middlebury College graduate, Schmidt was a six-time All American for the Panthers. He set NESCAC records and top 10 all-time marks in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the school. His 29:23 in the 10K was the nation's best time for his senior season. He anchored the school's first national-qualifying distance medley relay as well. Schmidt led Middlebury to its first-ever NESCAC cross country title in 2010 and to its first two NCAA team berths. Originally from Wilmette, Illinois, Mike majored in psychology and film & media studies at Middlebury. Following his senior cross country season, the team's Most Valuable Player award was renamed in his honor.