When looking for an assistant coach, several factors come into play. Experience is often the most important.
However, every coach has to start somewhere, and this requires someone to overlook their lack of experience and focus on what else they can bring to a program.
Such is the case for Adam Hall and Mike Schmidt, two former players who have recently become coaches at San Diego State.
Neither of the two had been a coach before in their respective field, but their willingness to do everything in their power to help their former school succeed is something that cannot be found in other candidates.
This week’s Throwback Thursday will showcase Hall and Schmidt, both as players and coaches.
Adam Hall: The Player
Although his career was hampered by injuries, Adam Hall still left his mark in the San Diego State record books.
Hall originally attended the University of Texas in 1999, but decided to transfer to SDSU the following year. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, he split time with quarterback Lon Sheriff in 2001.
In 2002, Hall became the full-time starter. Despite missing the final two games due to injury, he had one of the most prolific passing seasons in SDSU history.
Hall threw for 3,253 yards and 17 touchdowns as a redshirt junior. He threw for over 500 yards twice in one season, an accomplishment that no other Aztec quarterback has ever achieved. He currently ranks eighth on the all-time list for passing yards in a season at SDSU.
In 2003, Hall was bit by the injury bug once again, as he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder. Opting to wait for surgery, he did his best to play his final season, appearing in seven games.
Battling through pain all season, Hall was still able to throw for 1,320 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Although he never made it through a full season, and was only a consistent starter once, Hall still ranks ninth on the all-time list for career passing yards at SDSU. He finished his career with 5,173 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Adam Hall: The Coach
In January of 2012, head coach Rocky Long was faced with a tough task. The newly hired strength coach unexpectedly left, and Long needed to find someone quickly to take over the strength and conditioning duties.
Long hired Hall, who was an assistant with SDSU in the weight room in 2009 with former strength coach Aaron Wellman.
In the end, it all worked out for SDSU, as Hall has taken over and done an incredible job running the strength and conditioning program.
He has been able to bundle a unique blend of knowledge, using a combination of what he learned from his playing days, Wellman, and his time at Texas to formulate his own philosophy.
Thanks to Hall, the Aztecs look stronger than ever, and will continue to gain strength as a team and pride themselves on their demanding offseason workout program.
Mike Schmidt: The Player
Mike Schmidt began his career as walk-on defensive lineman, and finished his career an offensive lineman on scholarship and a team captain.
He played in three games in 2005 as a defensive lineman, recording three tackles in the season. Following the season, he moved to offensive line for the 2006 spring practices.
The bulk of his playing time came in 2007 and 2008, where he played both left and right guard for the Aztecs. An aggressive player, Schmidt was known for his toughness in the trenches.
After a knee injury caused him to miss two games in 2008, he battled back and played through the pain in the final game of the season, a 42-21 victory over UNLV.
Mike Schmidt: The Coach
In 2009, Schmidt joined the Aztecs as a volunteer assistant, trying to help his former team any way that he could. Former head coach Brady Hoke saw his dedication to the program, and Schmidt was given the opportunity to become a graduate assistant.
Schmidt was a huge part of SDSU’s success in 2010 and 2011, doing everything asked of him and more. Putting together game week preparation plans, organizing the defensive scout team, and working with the offensive lineman and tight ends were just some of the several duties that he had.
As a graduate assistant, Schmidt worked tirelessly and never complained, and his hard work did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff.
After offensive line coach Dan Finn left for a different job in the spring of 2011, head coach Rocky Long had to find a replacement. Similar to what happened with the hiring of Adam Hall, Long was faced with another tough decision.
Long eventually decided on hiring Schmidt, deciding that his work over the previous two seasons and passion for the football program made him worthy of the position.
Although outsiders appeared skeptical because of his young age and lack of experience, Schmidt has shown his worth and has handled his new job extremely well.