The campus of Delta State University went through a major tragedy on Monday with the shooting death of Dr. Ethan Schmidt.
The campus was on lockdown until late Monday evening after 11 p.m.
In the athletic department all activities on Monday were postponed as coaches and faculty did everything they could to make sure every student-athlete was safe and accounted for.
Delta State University Senior Associate Athletic Director Matt Jones said Dr. Schmidt will truly be missed.
“Obviously, Dr. Schmidt’s murder was a shock to our department,” Jones said. “Dr. Schmidt was a beloved member of our campus and our community but more than that he was a fan. He was very involved in our student-athletes’ lives as an instructor as well as a mentor. He ran our first-year seminar program here at Delta State and did a phenomenal job of trying to incorporate our traditions, our history and athletic success in that program.
“He was a huge fan of athletics and certainly his death on Monday was a shock to us all.”
Jones said there were protocols in place to handle tragedies such as the one that happened on Monday.
“We lock down the building and then we go into a search mode basically to make sure all of our student-athletes are accounted for,” Jones said. “We do this sport by sport. Our head coaches of each sport go through and make sure they can account for their student-athletes, assistant coaches and graduate assistants. Once that is done, they report it back to us. We set up kind of an internal department command center.
“I have to check to make sure we’re communicating amongst all the administration so that we know everyone is accounted for and then we relay that information up the chain as we should here at the university. We did everything we could on Monday to make sure we were meeting the needs of our student-athletes and our students.”
According to Jones, DSU has approximately 380 student-athletes and all of them were accounted for on Monday.
Jones said the student-athletes are very special.
“You like at your student-athletes, not as just members of your team, they become members of your family,” Jones said. “They become members of your life. You care about them the way parents do. Immediately, you want to make certain that they’re safe. You do everything that you can to do that.”
Jones was particularly pleased with the job all the coaches did on taking care of their student-athletes.
“We have an excellent coaching staff here at Delta State,” Jones said. “We have coaches committed to the total mission of preparing our student-athletes for the future and on Monday that was on full display. Every coach in every program did an excellent job of making sure that their student-athletes were safe, accounted for and taken care of.”
All of DSU’s athletic events resume today at 4 p.m. with DSU hosting Mississippi College in men’s soccer as there will be a moment of silence to honor Dr. Schmidt before the game. There will also be a moment of silence on Friday when the DSU men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams host Rhodes College at 7 p.m. For Saturday, Pig Pickin’ activities are still on. There will be a Game Day Live show, an hour-long pregame radio show, from noon to 1 p.m. at Statesman Park. The radio show will be on 107.5 FM and on www.gostatesmen.com.
Before DSU’s football game with Kentucky Wesleyan, there will be a moment of silence. The football team will wear a special decal on its helmets to honor the memory of Schmidt. The football game will be at 6 p.m.