Former Blue Devil Coach Mike Schmitz Passes Away
Former Huntington High School boys' basketball coach Mike Schmitz passed away suddenly early last Thursday morning. He was 63. The former Blue Devil hard court mentor had been an assistant coach at Dowling College during the past two seasons.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Heart Association would be appreciated. The loss of Mr. Schmitz stunned the Huntington athletic program. He was the uncle of former Blue Devil boys' and girls' head coach Brad Reminick and close friends with current varsity boys' head coach Brian Carey.
When Mr. Schmitz left Huntington after four years as head coach to join the Dowling College staff, he was praised by Georgia McCarthy, Huntington's director of athletics who presented the basketball maestro with a plague at the June 2010 Blue Devil senior athletic awards banquet.
"We wish Mike nothing but the very best of luck at Dowling," Mrs. McCarthy said during her presentation two years ago. "We appreciate his commitment and dedication to our athletic program and the players on his team. He set high standards for himself and the athletes and he always put a competitive team on the floor."
Mr. Schmitz earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Bridgeport in history and education and received a Master's degree in 1977 from C.W. Post in psychology. He later obtained a professional diploma in school counseling from C.W. Post in 1983.
At Bridgeport, Mr. Schmitz played on the baseball and basketball teams. He captained the basketball squad that reached the NCAA regional semi-finals and was named the team's MVP.
Before being named Huntington head coach in June 2006, Mr. Schmitz had been the head coach at Commack High School for eight years. He earlier served as Huntington junior varsity basketball coach from 1994 through the 1998 season under then varsity head coach Wayne Lackmann. He also coached for many years at Commack High School South before that building closed.
When he returned to Huntington, Mr. Schmitz replaced Joe Crocco who left to pursue an administrative career at Western Suffolk BOCES where he has worked as a teacher. Mr. Schmitz came back to the Blue Devils just as he was retiring from his faculty position in Commack where he worked as a social studies teacher and guidance counselor since 1971. He also worked as a psychology professor at Suffolk Community College.
After leaving Huntington to become Dowling's lead assistant coach, Mr. Schmitz was succeeded as Blue Devil head coach by his nephew, Mr. Reminick. During the past two seasons, Mr. Schmitz was spotted several times watching Huntington play on days when Dowling had nothing scheduled.
Mrs. McCarthy was shocked upon learning of the news of Mr. Schmitz's passing. "It's terrible," she said. "He was a wonderful man." The coach leaves behind his wife, Michele and children Devon and Andrea, their spouses and three grandchildren.
Visitation was held on Saturday and Sunday at the O.B. Davis Funeral Home in Miller Place, where a memorial service was scheduled for Monday morning. Interment followed at Sea View Cemetery in Mount Sinai.