President. Principal. Dean. Chair. Director. Facilitator. Coach. Metea Valley principal Jim Schmid's resume is peppered with titles of authority.
It's no wonder he played catcher and point guard at Aurora Central Catholic -- athlete of the year in 1972 as a senior -- and won 514 games as baseball coach at ACC, Aurora University and Waubonsie Valley. The man is a leader.
Thirty-eight years as an educator, however, are sufficient for this quick-witted, comically self-deprecating sparkplug. A member of three athletic halls of fame and the Parent-Teacher Association's 2013 Illinois principal of the year among many, many honors, Schmid is retiring at the end of this school year.
"I've reached the magic age of 60 and I really started thinking about some different options, and I really just felt I might like to do something different," Schmid said. "It's the kind of position where there's a decent amount of stress and time tied to it. I thought it'd be an opportunity to just try to do something different."
His wife, Cathy, is a year from retiring as a teacher's aide at Owen Elementary in District 204. So Schmid has undoubtedly devised a scheme to quickly sow some wild oats. Right?
"No," he said.
"It would be fun to coach baseball in some capacity," he said. "I'll have to see how that plays out. But I don't anticipate doing something as demanding as principal at a large high school."
Schmid was more than a principal at Metea Valley these last six years. He was a test pilot, involved in decisions regarding "everything from school fight songs to uniforms," he said, for a full year before the school opened in 2009.
He probably could have cruised into retirement from his perch at Waubonsie Valley, where he credited Bob Mattingly, his Aurora Central baseball coach who also shifted to Waubonsie, as being instrumental to his hiring and aside from parents Allan and Anne, his most significant mentors.
Schmid started at Waubonsie in 1976 right out of Northern Illinois University, a one-year stint as an English and speech teacher. He went to see what the folks at Aurora Central and Aurora University knew before returning to Waubonsie 15 years later, beginning as dean of students and ascending to principal.
The lure of starting Metea Valley off on the right foot was strong.
"It was one of those things that I knew the community because 60 percent of Waubonsie Valley was going to go to Metea. I knew the administration, I had the opportunity to start a school from scratch. And I didn't have to move," he said.
"Put all those things together and I thought it'd be a pretty good fit and a good deal of fun, though that's extremely difficult at the same time, and that's about how it turned out."
As dapper in a baseball uniform as he is now wearing a business suit, Schmid created success and it rubbed off. Basically still a kid himself at the time, Schmid coached current Neuqua Valley baseball coach Robin Renner on an Aurora American Legion league champion. A few years later as a young baseball and basketball coach at Aurora Central he had another neighborhood pal in the program. Mark Lindo went on to earn induction into state baseball and basketball halls of fame.
Schmid managed ACC's baseball team to an average of 20 wins a season over five years with a 1981 Class A runner-up finish. He led Aurora University to nine conference titles in 10 seasons with an NCAA runner-up finish and was the program's career victories leader when he left in 1992. Between 1993-2000 Schmid averaged 21 wins at Waubonsie. His 1996 squad finished fifth in the Upstate Eight then caught fire to finish second in Class AA.
"We always tried to play the game the right way," he said. "Let's play the game with a great deal of energy and a great deal of enthusiasm ... Let's respect the game."
Like most who swap athletics for administration, Schmid's decision was difficult particularly when one is so good at both. In 1997, for example, he won Waubonsie's Most Influential Teacher Award and gained induction into the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Leadership like that is hard to match.
"You kind of hope you're a hall of fame person," Schmid said. "We all quit coaching at some point, but hopefully you have an impact with people."
On a roll
The Windy City Warriors adaptive sports group is hosting a wheelchair basketball tournament Feb. 1-2 at the Fountain View Fitness Center in Carol Stream.
Home to the defending national champion and eight-time IHSA state champ Warriors, who include players such as Lake Park's Matt Molenkamp and Waubonsie Valley's Daniel Dye, the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association will bring in high school and junior high athletes from teams out of Fort Wayne, Milwaukee, Peoria, Rockford and the Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association, of Addison.
The February Classic Wheelchair Basketball Tournament is free and open to the public.
She's No. 1
With the first pick in the National Women's Soccer League 2014 Expansion Draft, the Houston Dash selected ... Brittany Bock, who as a senior in 2005 led Neuqua Valley to the Class AA title.
"It felt really good. It was exciting," Bock said Tuesday while doing some shopping.
That's a better feeling than the talented, 20-something midfielder experienced last year with Sky Blue FC, an NWSL entry in New Jersey. Bock was held without a point in 7 games, starting 5, while dealing with two broken ribs, a concussion and a broken wrist.
"It was a fluke season," she said. "That's why I'm so excited about this season to start."
Another reason is a reunion with first-year Dash coach Randy Waldrum, her coach at Notre Dame. An ESPN Academic All-America and a Herrmann Trophy semifinalist, Bock helped the Irish reach the Division I championship her sophomore and senior years.
She was so thrilled to play soccer at Notre Dame that as a high school junior she drove through a blizzard to personally commit to Waldrum.
"It brought me back to those memories and those four years," Bock said of the draft and rejoining Waldrum. "I was a part of four great, amazing years at Notre Dame, so it's kind of exciting we're starting things up again."
Seven days after the Expansion Draft, the Chicago-based NWSL held its college draft. The Chicago Red Stars selected Waubonsie Valley graduate Vanessa DiBernardo with the fourth overall pick. DiBernardo, a midfielder, was a three-time first-team all-Big Ten pick at Illinois whose 22 assists set a program record.
"The day that she got picked up -- because I was following the draft on Twitter -- I said 'Congratulations,'" Bock said. "It'll be exciting to play against her and very exciting for her to be playing in her hometown."
Given that they basically share the same home turf, and Bock has had enough of this weather, she's hoping to reach Houston before preseason training begins March 10, to see some grass and help market the team.
"I'll just continue to grow as a player," she said, "and my ultimate goal is to make the national team but also play some good, strong soccer along the way."
Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1