Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Francis "Close the Gates of Mercy" Schmidt

Francis "Close the Gates of Mercy" Schmidt


  • Position: Coach
  • School: Tulsa, Arkansas, Texas Christian, Ohio State, Idaho
  • Years: 1919-1942
  • Inducted: 1971
  • Place of Birth: Downs, KS
  • Date of Birth: Dec 03, 1885
  • Place of Death: Spokane, WA

Member Biography

Francis A. Schmidt was a brilliant strategist. His teams were high scorers and featured trick plays on the way to his career record of 158-57-11. His first team, at Tulsa in 1919, was unbeaten and outscored opponents 592-27. Among the victories were those over Oklahoma Baptist 152-0, Arkansas 63-7 and Oklahoma 27-0. He moved to Arkansas for seven years 1922-28. Then came five years at Texas Christian, a 46-6-5 record and two Southwest Conference championships. Next stop: Ohio State, seven years 1934-40, a 39-16-1 record and two Big Ten titles. Schmidt closed out with two years at Idaho, 1941-42, when that school was in the Pacific Coast Conference. His best remembered quote came from a speech to his team before a 1934 game with arch rival Michigan: "Those fellows are human; they put their pants on one leg at a time." Ohio State won the game 34-0 and thus was founded the Pants Club. Membership goes to any Ohio State player who takes part in a victory over Michigan. Members wear a gold lapel pin shaped like football pants. Thus, Francis A. Schmidt will always be remembered. Schmidt was born December 3, 1885, in Downs, Kansas. He won a letter in football at Nebraska in 1905. Schmidt served in the Army in World War I and rose to the rank of captain. He died September 19, 1944.