Bill Schmidt to enter Winona High Athletic Hall of Fame

Long-time Winona Coach Bill Schmidt is being inducted into the Winona High School Athletic Hall of fame on October 8th, 2022. Other inductees are Al Nordsving, Joe Alexander, and Abby Staats.

Schmidt is already a Hall of Famer having been inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2019 and the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2020.

According to current Winona Wrestling Coach Joe Hoialmen, “Coach Schmidt from day one has been a mentor to me which over time turned into a friendship that turned into family. Coach Schmidt has done so much for Minnesota wrestling but his impact on the lives he has touched, changed, influenced for Winona wrestling speaks volumes of who Coach Schmidt is. Personally he took me under his wing 44 years ago and I am still under his wing today, I would have not been the wrestler I was without his personal guidance and dedication to me, Coach Schmidt is very deserving of this honor!”

Bill Schmidt speaking at the MWCA Bartelma Hall of Fame

Winona High Athletic Hall of Fame
October 8th, 2022
12:00 PM Social
1:00 PM induction in the Winona High School media center.

Bill Schmidt – Winona High Athletic Hall of Fame

Bill Schmidt was born and raised on a dairy farm just south of Renville, Minnesota along with a brother and three sisters. Bill participated in football, wrestling, and baseball at Renville High School. He was an all-conference selection in football and voted MVP as a senior as well as a six-year varsity wrestler, placing fifth at State as a junior and winning the 145-pound State Championship as a senior in the one-class system.

Schmidt attended Augsburg College where he earned a degree in Mathematics and competed in wrestling. Bill was a three-time MIAC Conference Champion and a three-time National Place-winner finishing 5th, 4th, and 2nd in the NAIA. Schmidt was unable to wrestle as a senior at Augsburg due to a neck injury suffered while wrestling in Japan and Korea, but was voted Most Valuable Wrestler by his Augsburg teammates that year.

After teaching mathematics and serving as an assistant wrestling coach in Mosinee, Wisconsin for two years, Bill and Jill returned to Minnesota when he was hired to teach junior high mathematics and take over the head wrestling duties at Winona Senior High. In Schmidt’s 12 years at the helm, Winona produced 24 state qualifiers with 12 place-winners and one State Champion. Bill was also Winona’s first assistant cross-country coach and was also a volunteer baseball and softball coach in the Summer.

After stepping down as head wrestling coach, Schmidt served as Assistant Director (eight years) and Executive Director (nine years) of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association and currently chairs the Mr. Minnesota Wrestler and Wrestling Coach of the Year Committees for the MWCA.

Bill and his wife Jill served on the Winona High Football Chain Gang for 38 years and the Winona State Chain Gang for 34 years along with son Sam and daughter Sundra. Bill and Jill were honored with the Ashley for the Arts Humanitarian Award in 2019 for their volunteer work with the youth in the Winona community.

As Bill looked back on his teaching and coaching career, he feels very indebted to the many teachers and coaches who helped him out along the way. He was fortunate to be part of the Winona cross-country program and the outstanding coaches he had the privilege of working with. Jim Flim provided a tremendous example of program development and motivational tools. It was also a joy to be around the hardworking, conscientious, and enthusiastic runners on the team.

Schmidt was also very appreciative of the great coaches that prepared Winona’s wrestlers for the varsity program. Bob Urness was a phenomenal junior high wrestling coach even though he had never wrestled himself. Urnie was a great recruiter and a huge asset to the program. Jim Pappas was only in Winona for four years, but left a lasting impression on both the football and wrestling programs. Jim not only served as an outstanding technician, but was always there to advise, organize, and administrate every wrestling event, not only during the season, but all year around. Last, but certainly not least, was the wrestling volunteer who helped make sure everything was done and done well. Jill took over a multitude of duties, especially during the season. Jill was at every meet, home or away (except Mankato) with two little ones at her side. From compiling stats to helping to organize and run tournaments, Jill did it all. She was the main cog in running the 16 Team Winona Invitational, making every match and compiling team scores (by hand). And all this while managing a career of her own in Real Estate.

Bill and Jill feel very fortunate to have their children and grandchildren all within a couple of blocks. Daughter Sundra and Patrick Menton have two children – Avrielle and August. Son Sam has three children – Sophie, Graham, and Lucy.

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