Originally Published: April 9, 2014 6:01 a.m.
Chuck Schmitt will take over as coach of Prescott High's varsity girls' basketball team, the school's athletic director confirmed late this past week.
PHS A.D. Mark Goligoski said Schmitt, who mentored Chino Valley High's varsity boys' basketball squad in 2013-14, is a natural fit for the program in the wake of coach Missy Townsend's departure in late March.
Townsend, who resigned to spend more time with her family, guided the Lady Badgers to six state tournament appearances in her seven seasons on the bench.
"He's filling some big shoes," Goligoski said of Schmitt. "That's what Missy Townsend did for our program in all the years that she was involved. Chuck carries forth the same experience and expectations that Missy had. We're lucky to have him."
Schmitt, a Prescott resident, said he's watched Lady Badgers games during the past couple years and likes the direction that the program has taken.
"Missy's done a pretty nice job there over the years," he said. "They have good girls, and what a nice place to coach at."
A private-school educator since the 1970s in Connecticut, Ohio and Michigan prior to his retirement in 2009, Schmitt spent the past season with the struggling Cougars, who managed only three wins.
"I had great kids, good parents," Schmitt said of his experience at Chino Valley. "In one year, we did a pretty good job from where it was. We put it on a sound foundation. The kids rallied around that, accepted what I offered, and what we tried to teach."
Schmitt, who's in his 60s, has coached high school football and boys' and girls' basketball nearly his entire adult life.
"One of the things I really appreciate is that he's got a ton of experience," Goligoski said. "His whole career has been in athletics as a coach and as an athletic director. He really understands the place that high school athletics has in a school. We want to be competitive, but we also want to make sure that we're providing programs where kids are growing and learning. That's the place athletics has in our school, and he gets it."
Schmitt most recently coached prep girls' basketball from 1992-97 at the Pomfert School, a private boarding school in northeastern Connecticut. He led Pomfert to a New England championship in 1994 and a pair of runner-up finishes in 1993 and 1995.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to that," Schmitt added. "We had a good run."
Schmitt said he won't teach at PHS, which will give him more time to focus on coaching. He hopes to eventually guide the Lady Badgers to the state playoffs, which they missed this past season.
Over the next two months, Schmitt added that he will meet with his players and watch them play in open gym. He added that he'll put together Prescott's schedule in June. In the off-season, the girls will compete in some tournaments and team camps as well as a summer league in Flagstaff.
"We want to be competitive within our section and, of course, you've got that rival down the street in Bradshaw (Mountain)," Schmitt said. "The girls will continue to be excited about that. We want to put the best program we can out there."
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