Chris Schmidt, the head football coach at New Bremen High School who last year led his team to the Ohio Division VII state title, was named today as the 2020 season winner of the Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award.
The award has been given annually by the Bengals since 2002. It honors outstanding high school football coaches in the region and includes a $10,000 Bengals donation to New Bremen High School's athletic department.
Bengals president Mike Brown presented Schmidt with the award at the Bengals' annual pre-training camp luncheon.
"Chris exemplifies the values my father cherished in a high school coach," said Brown. "He has been a long-term teacher and coach, and he brought his program at New Bremen up from the bottom to the top. It's a study in perseverance and hard work — lessons that any high schooler would do well to emulate."
Schmidt has been New Bremen's head coach since 2015, when he took over a program coming off of two straight winless seasons. By 2018, Schmidt had led the Cardinals to a 6-4 record, good for the school's first winning record in 14 years. Last season, New Bremen got off to a 2-2 start before reeling off nine straight wins, culminating in a 31-0 victory in the state championship game.
In addition to his duties as head football coach, Schmidt also serves as a social studies teacher at New Bremen. He previously taught social studies and coached at Bellefontaine (Ohio) High School — he was an assistant coach there for seven seasons before taking over as head coach from 2010-12.
Schmidt played football collegiately at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He earned a bachelor's degree from Wittenberg in 2000, and later got a master's degree in education from Northcentral University in '12. He and his wife, Nellie, have a three-year-old daughter, Evelyn.
Schmidt is the 20th winner of the Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award. Previous winners have been Aaron Hancock of Wyoming High School (2019 season), Andy Olds of Kings ('18), Eddie Eviston of Covington Catholic ('17), Noel Rash of Beechwood ('16), Dan McSurley of Clinton-Massie ('15), Nate Moore of La Salle ('14), Tim Goodwin of Marion (Ohio) Local ('13), Tom Crosby of Mariemont ('12), Bruce Kozerski of Covington Holy Cross ('11), Steve Klonne of Moeller ('10), Troy Everhart of Winton Woods ('09), Dale Mueller of Fort Thomas Highlands ('08), Jeff Giesting of Anderson ('07), Scott Datillo of Sycamore ('06), Steve Specht of St. Xavier ('05), Charles "Doc" Gamble of Withrow ('04), Doug Ramsey of Elder ('03), and Vince Suriano of Anderson and Mike Martin of Taft ('02 co-winners).