His passion and dedication were insurmountable. Whether it was on the tennis courts or at the pool, those who knew him said Lloyd “Bud” Schmid gave his all for the greater good of the Brainerd athletic community.
“I’ve never met anybody who seemed to have tennis in his blood like Bud,” said Brainerd girls tennis coach Ellen Fussy, who played for Schmid 33 years ago. “The joy on his face when he was on the court, just pure passion and dedication in doing something he truly loved. It’s something I will always admire about him.”
Schmid, who died Thursday at his Eden Prairie home at the age of 86, Schmid left a mark that many said they won’t forget, playing the role of a “pioneer in Brainerd High School sports” as current Brainerd boys tennis coach, Bruce Thompson, affectionately stated.
“He started up the swimming program and he was instrumental in starting up the tennis program (1953-54) here in Brainerd,” said Thompson, who was an assistant coach to Schmid for girls and boys tennis in the 1970s. “He had the energy to get things done and going when no one else was.
“His dedication as a coach and passion for the sport and the kids was a standout feature that I’ll never forget.”
Never shy of ambition, Schmid took it upon himself to start up the high school wrestling program in 1955-56 alongside Harvey Shew. After turning over the head coaching reigns to Merv Jensen the following year, Schmid looked for the next step forward.
A member of the board of the YMCA in the early 1960s, Schmid teamed up with Paul Vrudny to start the first Brainerd High School swim team, not letting the lack of a pool stop him.
“He initially started the swimming team at the YMCA, with competitive swimming in the morning from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. before school started,” said Vrudny. “At the YMCA we had 40 kids in the pool at a time, making it a very cramped space. But because (Bud) was such a tremendous innovator, he was able to get the high school pool up and running with (six) lanes and a 12-foot depth for diving.
“The funny thing is, I don’t even think he had any specific training in swimming but just became so interested in it. Once it got set-up, he left and moved on to the next big thing he wanted to get going.”
The next thing for Schmid was the school’s tennis program, where his passion really came forth.
“His contribution to Brainerd tennis is amazing,” said Fussy. “He left such strong traditions and a mark on Brainerd tennis that will be here for a long time.”
And, with the Bud Schmid Award, given each year to an outstanding assistant coach, and his name in the Warrior Athletics Hall of Fame, Schmid will continue to leave an impression on future athletes for years to come.
JESSI PIERCE can be reached at 855-5858 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessi_pierce