Salukis will switch to an all-black helmet in 2012.
Last updated on June 2, 2011
Eric Schmidt is entering his fifth season as a memeber of SIU's defensive staff and has tutored both outside linebackers and defensive ends. This year he will focus on mentoring the team's linebacker corps and special teams.
In 2009, outside linebacker Kyle Walker finished third in the MVFC with nine sacks, helping SIU lead the conference in total sacks. Another outside linebacker, Chauncey Mixon, capped off his career with 41.5 tackles for a loss and 16.0 sacks, which are tied for the seventh most in school history.
In 2010, defensive end Chance Coda was a second team All-MVFC selection after posting 8.0 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. Coda was also a first team ESPN Academic All-American. Outside linebacker Jayson DiManche was named to the All-MVFC honorable mention team after leading the team in sacks and he was named the MVFC Defensive Player of the Week following his three-sack performance in a win over No. 20 Western Illinois.
In 2011, defensive end Ken Boatright led the team with 6.5 sacks, while nose tackle Kayon Swanson added four sacks and earned All-Conference honors.
Schmidt, who in his playing days had a knack for getting to the quarterback, has relayed that knowledge to the players he now coaches. A former standout linebacker under Dale Lennon at the University of North Dakota, Schmidt coached with Lennon at his alma mater for two seasons (2006-07) before coming to SIU.
Prior to UND, he spent four years as head football coach at Crookston (Minn.) High School. He led the Pirates to a Section 8AAA runner-up finish in 2004, and one year earlier, led the team to the Minnesota state semifinals. Schmidt was named the 2003 Section 8AAA Coach of the Year. He also coached girls basketball at Crookston and guided the team to a State AA runner-up finish in 2006.
A native of Mandan, N.D., Schmidt played for the Fighting Sioux from 1998-01 and was a captain of UND's 2001 national championship team. A two-time All-North Central Conference selection, Schmidt earned All-America honors as a senior in 2001. His 10.0 sacks as a senior set a new school record.
Schmidt received his bachelor's degree in secondary education from North Dakota in 2002. He and his wife, Tiffany, have a two year-old daughter, Kennedy.