Baseball – Schmitt Announces Retirement as Wall Skipper
When baseball practice began in March, longtime head coach Todd Schmitt was not sure whether or not he would be able to coach his team by opening day, if at all in 2019.
An on-the-job injury kept Schmitt out of work into March but it didn't keep him from getting back to the dugout for one last run with one more special team.
In his 22nd season at the helm, Schmitt led his Crimson Knights to the NJSIAA Group III championship - the second and final state title under his watch. Schmitt announced late Thursday night that he has submitted his resignation as well as his retirement papers as a teacher at Wall High School.
"The opportunity to finish on such a high note, winning a state championship ranked number four in the state and number one in Shore Conference made my decision a little easier," Schmitt said in his written statement. "I am sure next March will bring different feelings but for now I'm at peace with my decisions."
Schmitt taught for 31 years and spent eight years as the junior varsity baseball coach before taking over as head coach at Wall for the 1998 season. He retires with 403 career wins, which was the third-highest total among active Shore Conference coaches in 2018.
Only two coaches in Shore Conference history have led their team to five championships in one season and Schmitt was the first. The 2004 Wall squad won the Class B North division title, the Monmouth County Tournament, Shore Conference Tournament, Central Jersey Group III title and overall Group III championship. Christian Brothers Academy accomplished the same feat as a Non-Public A program in 2015 under 800-game winner Marty Kenney.
"I was very fortunate to have coached and taught in such a great school district and community," Schmitt said. "The players who I had the opportunity to coach have all made the job a wonderful experience. The skills of these players were matched by the respect and desire to play the game the correct way."
Over his 22 seasons, Schmitt had the benefit of two assistant coaches from day one in Jim Rochford and Joe Martin. Rochford handled head coaching duties while Schmitt was on disability and took over third-base-coaching duties during the past season.
Wall graduated most of its 2019 this spring but will have some key pieces back for 2020 under a new head coach. Florida State commit and Shore Sports Network All-Shore First-Teamer Teddy Sharkey was dominant on the mound and at the plate as a junior and will have support in the form of classmate and outfielder Sean Nocera and junior-to-be Jay Bant.
"I inherited a program from two coaches whom I admire and respect Harry Madsen and Angelo Rubano," Schmitt said. "They were the guys who gave me a chance and let me coach and learn as I went along. I carried a little bit from both of them over the years and hopefully added something to be carried on in the future."