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Duquesne extends contract of football coach Jerry Schmitt

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Dukes and head football coach reach multi-year contract extension

Duquesne University Director of Athletics Greg Amodio announced today that head football coach Jerry Schmitt has agreed to a multi-year contract extension that secures him as the Dukes coach through 2013-14.

“As we continue to build based on a scholarship model, it is important that we maintain continuity within the football program,” said Amodio. “Securing Jerry to guide the program is a big step in maintaining that continuity. We look forward to his leadership as we continue to grow.”

"I am pleased and honored to have the opportunity to continue the growth of the football program in the Northeast Conference,” said Schmitt who led the Dukes to a third-place NEC finish this season. “The University administration has provided outstanding support throughout our transition to one of the up-and-coming conferences in the Football Championship Subdivision.  I look forward to working with our student-athletes at Duquesne in preparation for next season and seasons to come.”

Schmitt, 50, who guided the Dukes to Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League championships in each of his first three seasons, took a team picked to finish seventh in a preseason poll of NEC coaches and led it to a 7-4 record, including a 5-3 NEC mark. The Dukes, who closed with wins in four of their final five games, will return 14 starters in 2011.

This was Duquesne’s third season as an associate member of the NEC.

“The move to the NEC was particularly challenging due to the fact the programs in the conference had a head start in granting scholarships,” said Amodio. “Jerry has done an outstanding job in moving Duquesne through that transition.”

Duquesne, which granted only need-based financial aid for football playing student-athletes as a member of the MAAC, adopted an athletics-based aid model concurrent with its move to the Northeast Conference in January of 2007. DU’s first scholarship recruiting class was signed in February of 2008.

Since making the transition to the NEC, Duquesne’s Rooney Field has undergone an extensive renovation that included the installation of permanent seating and a new playing surface prior to last season. The second part of that project, which includes a renovation of the locker rooms and office space in the fieldhouse at Rooney Field, is currently underway and expected to be completed this summer.

Schmitt, who played an important role in the development of the DU football program as an assistant from 1985-87 and again from 1992-99, was named MAAC Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006. He is 33-29 in six seasons at Duquesne.

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