Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 15, 2003

Jerry Schmitz to be inducted into SCSU hall of fame

By Lynda Jensen

Those familiar with wrestling and football in Howard Lake will likely remember Jerry Schmitz, who is a 1972 graduate at Howard Lake High School.

Schmitz will be inducted into the St. Cloud State University Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday, Sept. 20 during a presentation ceremony there.

The nomination will cap off a lifetime of national and international wrestling acheivements, including taking part of the US World Greco-Roman Team in '79, earning a silver medal during the Pan Am. games at Puerto Rico during the same year, and earning a bronze medal at Norway 1980 in the Peer Gynt Cup competition.

"You could say that I became focused or obsessed to become one of the best wrestlers in the world. Pretty big thinking for a small town kid," he commented.

Injuries prevented him from making the US Olympic team, he said.

"I tried, came close, and sports ­ like in life ­ you just pick yourself up and move on," he said.

Locally, residents may remember Schmitz as the Howard Lake High School wrestling team captain in 1972, taking second place in conference and second in district during his senior year.

"Then it was off to Willmar Community College and St. Cloud State," Schmitz said. He obtained his AA Degree in 1974 from Willmar, and BA in mass communications from SCSU in 1977.

He returned to SCSU for his masters degree in Human Resources Development and Training in 1993, he said.

Schmitz remembers Howard Lake with fondness, naming several people who helped him along the way: Stan Roberts, Bob Heber, Lee Kaltved, Dick Hayden, Rita Grim, Neil Sideen, Dick Stonstegard to name just a few.

"It was a good group of educators and I left high school with enough knowledge to continue my post high school career," he added.

"We still visit Howard Lake for Good Neighbor Days and the Wright County Fair.

Many family members and friends still live in the area so it's always fun to see them," he said.

Among the wrestling highlights in his career are:

· Minnesota State Junior College Champion 1974.

· 2X NIC Champion 1975 and 1976.

· 2X All-American NCCA Div. II. 1975 and 1976.

· NCCA Div. ll. 2nd place finish 1976.

· Captain/MVP SCSU wrestling team 1976.

· US World Greco-Roman Team member in 1979.

· Silver Medalist 1979 Pan Am. Games San Juan, Puerto Rico.

· Bronze medal at Peer Gynt Cup, Oslo, Norway 1980.

Highlights in his coaching career include:

· Coach at Truckee HS, Truckee, Ca. from 1982 to 1983.

· Coach for Minnesota wrestling club, 1984 Olympic Trials.

· Coach with MN/USA Wrestling Association, 1984 to 1986.

· Cultural exchange director for MN/USA Wrestling 1989-1992

· Graduate Asst. Wrestling coach at SCSU 1989 to 1990.

· Coach with Minn. Storm Greco-Roman team 1999 to 2001.

Schmitz has been involved in several community activities and organizations.

Volunteer announcer for Northwest Community TV Sports.

Sunday school teacher, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Maple Grove.

Member American Society of Safety Engineers.

Coach for youth wrestling and soccer programs, Maple Grove Park and Recreation.

He is a resident of Maple Grove, and lives with his wife, Jane, son, Peter and daughter, Margaret.

He is an avid cross-country skier, bicyclist and loves to travel.

Currently, he works for Olympic Steel in Plymouth as a regional safety manager.

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