James G. Schmidt '29 (Football, Basketball)
Jimmie Schmidt overcame sickness and injuries to become one of Catholic University’s finest running backs in the 1920s. He was named captain his senior year and posed his biggest threat catching the ball.
After playing at Loyola College as a freshman in his hometown of Baltimore, Schmidt transferred to CUA and played fullback, halfback and defensive back. As a sophomore in 1926, he had a 60-yard run in the Cardinals’ 17-9 Thanksgiving Day victory over George Washington.
CUA’s student newspaper, The Tower, said his dash came “… after having stiff-armed the entire secondary defense into submission.”
The game, which the Cards trailed, 17-9, was played on campus at Brookland Stadium before 12,000 fans. The next year, Schmidt caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from fellow CUA Hall of Famer Ray Foley in a 13-0 victory over St. John’s (N.Y.).
Schmidt helped the 1928 Cardinals rally from an early 13-0 deficit to win, 21-13, over his former school, Loyola. The Tower described his contribution thusly: “The burrowings of Captain Schmidt and his fine defensive play was the outstanding feature of the Cardinal rally.”
Schmidt scored two TDs in a 69-0 whitewash of American, including a 40-yard reception. In the final game of his career, a 40-8 Homecoming victory over George Washington, he used his running and receiving ability to catch two six-pointers from Gene Murphy and set up four others. Included among his receptions were 20-, 40- and 30-yarders, the latter for the Cards’ final tally.
The Tower called it “… the best game of his career. Crashing into the line, and being on the receiving end of several passes, he put his team in a scoring position on several occasions.”
“Schmidt carried the ball through the line, around the ends and through broken fields with uncanny skill,” the front page of the paper declared. “His greatest attribute was sprinting to unguarded spots and grabbing passes over his shoulder while on the dead run.”
When Schmidt, who also played two years of varsity basketball (1926-28), graduated in 1929, The Cardinal yearbook said he “will go down in history as one of the best plungers ever turned out by Coach [Jack] McAuliffe.
“If his ability on the gridiron is any indication of his worth in other lines, nothing but a tip-top place will be his attainment.”