May 5, 2011
ATLANTA – Head coach Brian Gregory announced the completion of his Georgia Tech coaching staff Thursday with the appointment of former Dayton assistant Billy Schmidt as assistant coach, and also named former Murray State assistant coach Amir Abdur-Rahim as director of player development.
Schmidt, 41, served as an assistant coach under Gregory all eight of his seasons at Dayton, and was named associate head coach of the Dayton program just prior to the 2009-10 campaign. Earlier in the fall, Schmidt was voted the Atlantic 10’s top assistant coach in a poll of league coaches. He helped the Flyers win 172 games and participated in two NCAA Tournaments and three NITs under Gregory.
Abdur-Rahim, 30, spent three seasons as an assistant coach to Billy Kennedy at Murray State, helping the Racers post a 73-26 record, win two Ohio Valley Conference titles and participate in the NCAA Tournament and the NIT once each.
“I’m excited to have Billy join our staff here at Georgia Tech,” said Gregory. “His wealth of experience and success in this profession will have a great impact on our current players and as we move forward as a program. His passion for teaching, coaching and recruiting is driven by a work ethic that is second to none. Having Billy, who I worked with for two years and who worked for me the last eight, will be a great benefit to us in the process of building a first-class program.
“It’s so important that our young men are constantly surrounded by the highest quality role models and mentors, and Amir is exactly that,” he continued. “In addition to his great basketball knowledge, Amir has great respect and a great reputation in the Atlanta area. He’ll be able to positively impact the development of all our players, both on and off the court. Amir has proven himself a high-qualify recruiter and coach on this level.”
Schmidt was Gregory’s assistant coach all eight seasons at Dayton.
Adding Schmidt to the Flyer coaching staff was Gregory’s first move after being name Dayton’s coach in 2003. Schmidt was involved with all aspects of the Flyer men’s basketball program, assisting with scouting, recruiting and player development.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to be a part of a world-class institution that has a proud men’s basketball tradition,” said Schmidt. “Georgia Tech has a reputation of having the best and brightest student-athletes who compete at the highest level. I’m also excited to be in Atlanta, which is one of America’s great cities, a vibrant community, and a great place to live and come to work.”
Schmidt came to Dayton after nine seasons coaching in the SEC, The Big East, and the Big Ten. Schmidt had been on Tommy Amaker’s staff for three years from 2000 to 2003, beginning with Amaker at Seton Hall in 2000 before moving to Michigan with him.
Prior to Seton Hall, Schmidt was an assistant coach for three years (1997-2000) at Northwestern under former Toronto Raptors head coach Kevin O’Neill. During his first two years at Northwestern, Schmidt began his working relationship and friendship with Gregory. Schmidt also worked with O’Neill from 1994 to 1997 at the University of Tennessee. He joined the Volunteer staff as an administrative assistant in 1994 and was promoted to an assistant coach in 1996.
Rivals.com also recognized the traits that Gregory sees in Schmidt in 2008. The college-athletic-oriented website named Schmidt one of the Top 25 recruiters in the country. Schmidt was joined on the list by coaches from the ACC, the Big 12, the Big East, the Pac-10, and the SEC.
In the spring of 2009, Schmidt was named a recipient of the “Rising Star” Award, which is part of BasketballScoop Coach Of the Year. The program honors basketball assistant coaches who are regarded as the best in the business by their peers.
The native of Stamford, Conn., began his coaching career in the high school ranks, serving as an assistant coach to Steve Smith at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, for two years (1992-94). During his tenure, Oak Hill won back-to-back national championships.
Schmidt graduated with honors from Wake Forest in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education. While at Wake Forest, Schmidt was a manager and coaches’ aide for the Demon Deacons program for four years (1988-92). He has a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from the University of Tennessee.
Abdur-Rahim spent two seasons as a graduate assistant with the Racers before briefly taking a position on the prep level at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga. Just about the time he was ready to begin the school year there in 2008, he got a call from Kennedy to come back to MSU and he accepted. His history with Kennedy dates back to when he was recruited to play for him at Southeastern Louisiana University in 2001.
“To be from Atlanta and having grown up with Georgia Tech basketball, and now to be back home and part of it is unbelievably exciting,” said Abdur-Rahim. “A lot of what we do is about growth, from building a program to growing as a coach and helping develop young men. It’s exciting to be a part of the things Coach Gregory has planned here, and to be able to give back to these players, the city and Georgia Tech basketball is a dream come true.”
Abdur-Rahim enjoyed an outstanding career at SLU and was a large part in helping build the Lions’ program. During his SLU career from 2001-04, he was a three-time All-Southland Conference selection and led the Lions in scoring three-straight seasons and finished as the school’s seventh all-time scorer with 1,282 points. More importantly, he helped turn a program that had a 7-20 record to one that went 20-9 and won a regular season conference championship in only three years.
The Atlanta native earned a degree in general business in 2004 from Southeastern Louisiana and a master’s degree in organizational communication from Murray State in 2008. He is one of 13 children in his family.