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Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter of NFF recognizes Kansas football mentors

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Schmidt, Smith, Simpson honored for contributions to high school football in Kansas

  • (L-R): Olpe's Chris Schmidt, Colgan's Chuck Smith, and Doug Simpson. (Photo credit, L-R: Evert Nelson/Topeka Capital-Journal; File Photo; Courtesy Photo)
    (L-R): Olpe's Chris Schmidt, Colgan's Chuck Smith, and Doug Simpson. (Photo credit, L-R: Evert Nelson/Topeka Capital-Journal; File Photo; Courtesy Photo)

Olpe head football coach Chris Schmidt, former Pittsburg-Colgan head football coach Chuck Smith and official Doug Simpson have been selected by the Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter of the National Football Foundation to receive special recognition awards for the 2021-22 academic year.

Schmidt, who has coached Olpe to consecutive Kansas Class 1A championships in football and boys basketball was named the Don Fambrough Coach of the Year. The legendary late Kansas head football coach, Fambrough was also a member of the Jayhawks’ 1947 Orange Bowl team. Smith, who retired after the 2016 season, was selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We are blessed to have two outstanding mentors such as Coach Schmidt and Coach Smith, and a high quality official like Doug Simpson in the state of Kansas,” Chapter President Gerry McGuire said. “They have the respect of their peers because they not only have been successful on the field, but also because they have helped students to achieve outside of athletics. We congratulate them on their success.”

A native of Olpe, Schmidt has been the Eagles’ head football coach for 15 years, winning state titles in 2014, 2020 and 2021. He has a 141-33 record in that time, with 17 shutouts in the last two seasons. Olpe is only the second school in Kansas high school history to have consecutive state titles in both football and boys basketball (Hanover 08-09 & 09-10).

Smith had an illustrious, 38-year career coaching his first season at Topeka-Hayden in 1979 and the final 37 at St. Mary’s-Colgan in Pittsburg. He is the second-winningest coach in Kansas high school football history at 346-81 (trailing only C.J. Hamilton of Silver Lake). From 2000-2004 his team’s won 66 consecutive games - the second longest streak in state history. His team won five titles and were runners-up six times. Sons Nick, Mark, Jeff and Chas all played for him at Colgan, participated in the Shrine Bowl and played at Pittsburg State.

Doug Simpson of Lenexa, Kan., has been selected to receive the John and Phil Laurie Officiating Award. A native of Oberlin, Kan., Simpson has been an official for 45 years. Schmidt, Smith and Simpson will be honored at the annual chapter awards dinner, this year conducted May 11 in Lawrence.

Sponsors of the chapter and its activities include Dillons Food Stores, Bill Geiger and the Geiger Foundation, Jim Schroeder and Great Western Manufacturing, Joe and Brady Flannery and Weaver's Department Store, and John and Phil Laurie.

About the Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter NFF
The Kansas Chapter received its National Football Foundation Charter Nov. 25, 1991 at halftime ceremonies of the Kansas-Missouri football game. It then evolved into the Jayhawk Chapter and later transitioned to the Sunflower Chapter This year, it was renamed the Coach Bill Snyder Family Sunflower Chapter. Its mission is to recognize outstanding high school seniors who excel on the gridiron, in the classroom and as leaders in their schools and communities. More than 300 high school football players from the state of Kansas have been honored by the chapter since its inception in 1991.

About the National Football Foundation
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, the National Football Foundation (NFF) is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.

About the NFF Chapter Network
The NFF Chapter Network, spread across 120 outposts in 47 states, serves as the pulse of a nationwide effort to encourage leadership, sportsmanship and academic excellence among America’s young football players. The first meeting to discuss the formation of chapters was held by the Cincinnati Club in 1954, and today more than 12,000 passionate members carry on the legacy of the early pioneers, which is simply to Build Leaders Through Football. Collectively, they host more than 300 events each year, reaching more than 500,000 football players at 5,000 high schools.

Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter National Football Foundation / PO Box 3015 / Lawrence, Kan. 66046 / 785-864-0703