Gateway Class of 1986
Dan Schmitt, a name that resonates through the storied halls of Gateway High School, has imprinted an indelible legacy deeply rooted in his extraordinary achievements across the triumvirate of football, track, and wrestling. His journey, from a young athlete in the vibrant colors of Gateway to the ivory towers of Yale University, stands as an illuminating testament to his unparalleled athleticism, unyielding dedication, remarkable character, and an astoundingly vibrant life beyond the confines of the sports arena.
Football, Track, and Wrestling Excellence: Dan’s presence on the football field was akin to a symphony of athletic brilliance. A maestro of tireless work ethic, innate talent, and fierce determination, he composed a melody of greatness. His stride downfield as a fleet-footed running back, his soaring leaps to victory in track and field events, and his intricate choreography on the wrestling mat—outwrestling opponents with tactical precision—all underscored his versatility and craftsmanship, making him a true multi-sport phenomenon.
Dynamic Duo: “Two Schmitts Are Better Than One”: In the grand tapestry of Dan’s story, a chapter adorned with the title “Dynamic Duo” shines with brilliance. This chapter, co-authored with his brother Boomer, is one of camaraderie that traversed the gridiron’s expanse. Their shared presence in the offensive backfield wove an extraordinary tale of unity, exemplified in the rallying cry “Two Schmitts Are Better Than One.” It was during this partnership that a legendary touchdown run emerged from the crucible of adversity. In a playoff game against North Hills, as the Gateway team found themselves trailing, Dan’s remarkable run unfolded. In swamp-like conditions, with Gateway’s hopes hanging in the balance, Dan’s evasive prowess became evident. He danced, swayed, and zigzagged across the field, eluding every adversary, etching his name in history as the orchestrator of Gateway’s only touchdown in a dramatic comeback victory.
Pittsburgh Tribune’s Fabulous 22 and Pittsburgh Press Finest 44: The local media’s spotlight, keenly focused on Dan’s meteoric rise, cast a glow on his accomplishments. Consecutive selections to the Pittsburgh Tribune’s Fabulous 22 and Pittsburgh Press Finest 44 validated his dominant presence on the field, acknowledging his mastery, leadership, and the profound impact he had on the game.
Pennsylvania Big 33 Selection: Beyond his hometown’s confines, Dan’s prowess radiated statewide, leading to his selection for the Pennsylvania Big 33. Representing his state on the grand stage, he showcased a mastery that transcended boundaries, symbolizing the pinnacle of skill and dedication to his sport.
Collegiate Triumphs at Yale University: Yale University became the next chapter in Dan’s journey, an institution that upheld his reputation as an athlete and scholar. Graduating with dual degrees—a remarkable bachelor’s of science in Mechanical Engineering and a bachelor’s of arts in Economics—Dan demonstrated intellectual prowess alongside his athletic acumen. Yale was a canvas upon which he continued painting his legacy, characterized by resilience, sportsmanship, and an unwavering commitment to excellence both in the classroom and on the field.
Coaching Legacy and Neighborhood Bonds: Dan’s journey also encompasses his love for coaching, a passion he inherited from the legendary Pete Antimarino and Carm Cozza. Just as he was coached with old- school values in Monroeville, Dan founded Prosper’s HS lacrosse program, where he was President and coach in the early years. This program went on to win the Texas State championship during his son’s senior season, a testament to Dan’s coaching prowess. He also enjoyed coaching his son and his neighborhood friends, imparting the same principles that laid the foundation for his success in life.
Professional Journey and Entrepreneurial Success: After his academic pursuits, Dan ventured into the corporate world. He worked for Procter & Gamble and later joined SmithKline Beecham, which later became GlaxoSmithKline. His trajectory then took a bold turn as he founded his own consulting company, using his expertise to help large private equity firms optimize their investments. Today, Dan’s influence extends across two states—Naples, Florida, and Dallas, Texas. He manages a chain of neighborhood smoking bars and lounges, fostering community and connection. Alongside this, he continues his consulting services, leveraging his knowledge to guide businesses toward success.
Family and Legacy: Beyond the luminance of his athletic and academic feats, Dan’s personal life radiates with equal brilliance. His unwavering commitment to his high school sweetheart, whom he serendipitously met on a blind date during his junior year at Gateway, speaks to the depth of his character. Further, his pride as a father resonates profoundly. His children, Lexie and Cole, epitomize the legacy he’s nurtured—a daughter who excels as a senior at SMU and is primed for a successful career in Advertising and Social Media Management, a competitive cheerleader with the distinction of competing at Disney World Summit, and a son who has taken flight as a commercial pilot while etching his name in the annals of football and lacrosse where Cole set Texas state records for Career Points (397) and Career Goals (260).
Dan Schmitt’s enshrinement in the Hall of Fame is a resounding tribute—a symphony composed of indomitable spirit, unparalleled athletic prowess, steadfast dedication, and the tapestry of an exceptional life he has artfully woven. His legacy will reverberate through generations, echoing values of relentless effort, teamwork, camaraderie, familial bonds, and the unwavering pursuit of excellence.
I have the honor of calling you my friend and teammate. You were a great running back and even better teammate! As Captain, I learned a lot of lessons from your leadership leading our team to the 1985 Co-Championship. This is a well-deserved honor. Congratulations!
– Teammate Terry Smith