Mark Schmidt – Men’s Basketball
Since taking over a program that had fallen on hard times, Mark Schmidt has earned wide spread acknowledgment as one of the best coaches in the Atlantic 10. And, he’s a perfect match for St. Bonaventure and its fans.
When he was named head coach in 2007, Schmidt had a reputation as a hard-nosed competitor, true to his New England roots, who could game plan with the best of them. He also was mentored by the late Skip Prosser, the legendary Xavier and Wake Forest coach. Schmidt’s pedigree coupled with his own ambition has helped propel St. Bonaventure basketball – and him by extension – to the top of the Atlantic 10.
After a record-setting 2015-16 season that saw the Bonnies capture a share of their first A-10 regular season title, Schmidt was named the conference’s Coach of the Year by his peers. In 2018, Schmidt led St. Bonaventure to a win over UCLA in the NCAA Tournament and a school-record 26 wins for the season.
In 2016, he was rewarded with a new contract through the 2021-22 season, with salary raises for him and his staff funded totally by Bonnies donors.
“I’ve said many times that Mark is one of the best coaches in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” St. Bonaventure AD Tim Kenney said in 2016. “This is a well-deserved extension, not just based upon last season but the whole nine years he has been at St. Bonaventure. Mark has set a standard of excellence and we are committed to him long-term as our head coach.”
“I am happy to continue to help St. Bonaventure basketball be as competitive as we possibly can,” said Schmidt. “We have established the program to the point where we compete every year, and that is mainly a credit to our players and to my staff. I am glad for our players, for the staff and my family to make this commitment.”
In 2019, Schmidt surpassed Larry Weise as St. Bonaventure's all-time coaching wins leader.
Donors continue to support Schmidt’s efforts as both the BAF and Sixth Man Club have seen new fundraising records set over the past six years.
Jesse Fleming – Women’s Basketball
As a young St. Bonaventure student, Jesse Fleming was a journalism major who was searching for a career path. He got a job as a student manager for the Bonnies women’s basketball team that set him on a path he never imagined.
His diligence, dedication and thirst to learn the game’s nuances caught the attention of then-St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley. Following Fleming’s graduation in 2005, Crowley became so impressed that he offered Fleming a job as an assistant on his staff.
The rest is not just history, but it sure reads like it. From 2008-10, the Bonnies recorded three straight 20-win seasons including the school's first-ever trip to the postseason, a WNIT appearance in 2009 that extended into the third round. During Fleming's time with the program, the Bonnies established new program records for victories four times.
What is not so apparent is Fleming’s dogged pursuit of a career in the profession. He spent countless hours studying film, attending clinics, analyzing other coaches – in addition to the time working with Crowley. Fleming’s rise coincided with the program’s rise. In 2010, he was promoted to associate head coach.
When Fleming left to become associate head coach at Stony Brook in 2011 – right before St. Bonaventure’s storybook 2011-12 season that included a 14-0 A-10 record and ended with a trip to the Sweet 16 – he left to continue his growth as a coach. After four years as associate head coach at Bowling Green, he received a call from Tim Kenney offering him the job to replace his mentor, Crowley.
Today, Fleming is a role model for the young women he coaches. Hard work does indeed pay off – many times in ways never imagined.