A True Temple Football Hall of Famer

click here to read more of Dave Edwards' obit.

In the past couple of years, Wayne Hardin deservedly made the college football Hall of Fame and it took him three ballots to do so. This year, Paul Palmer was up for the third time and he missed out but I’m certain he will get in before long.

If there were a Hall of Fame for college football fans, Dave “Ed” Edwards, who preferred to be known as NJ Schmitty, would be a first-ballot selection. It’s easy to be a fan of Notre Dame, Penn State and Alabama. Those are what I refer to as front-runners.

A photo of coach Hardin  NJ Schmitty emailed to me. Coach Hardin hated ties and eschewed the extra point on the final play in a 31-30 loss to Penn State, saying a tie is like "kissing your sister." Here, Wes Sornisky reminds him of that when he kicked the game-tying FG in a 17-17 tie at Cincinnati.

A photo of coach Hardin NJ Schmitty emailed to me. Coach Hardin hated ties and eschewed the extra point on the final play in a 31-30 loss to Penn State, saying a tie is like “kissing your sister.” Here, Wes Sornisky reminds him of that when he kicked the game-tying FG in a 17-17 tie at Cincinnati.

I’d call NJ Schmitty a “back-burner” because he followed mostly losing Temple football teams as a devoted fan for 35-plus years but Schmitty suffered the indignity with a relentless sense of humor. The thing that separated Schmitty from most of the rest of us was that Temple was his “adopted” team, not of his own blood. He was a Susquehanna College  (now University) graduate and could have easily adopted nearby Penn State as his college team, but he took Temple and loved it as one of his own.

He was a frequent poster on Owlscoop.com and Owlsdaily.com and never got caught up in any heavy arguments, instead preferring to find the humor in the posts of others. He was the originator of the Owlscoop Hall of Fame and that is captured here for perpetuity.  (Thanks, Ikers.)

Many of you have met Schmitty. I have had the distinct pleasure of his company and hospitality at many Temple games. For those of you who have not met him, you surely know who he is because of a large oversized TEMPLE ‘][‘ on top of an old Chevy conversion van could not be missed at any Temple home games and you could hear the deep and hearty laughter coming from his tailgate at every game, whether the Owls were 9-4 or 2-10.

I was stunned to hear of Schmitty’s passing in the last few days. I didn’t know he was sick, but he will be missed more than he will ever know. The only time I ever called him Dave he scolded me. “It’s Schmitty, Mike,” he said.

RIP, Schmitty.


7 thoughts on “A True Temple Football Hall of Famer

  1. Nice posting mike about a seemingly very nice man. May he rest in peace and if there’s a god in heaven ask him for victory over penny state during my lifetime. Btw I’m sure smittys in heaven because after being a temple fan for 35 years…..well you know.

  2. I can sure relate to Smitty, being a Owl fan for over 45 years myself. Humor is the best way to handle “adversity.” But I’m sure he sometimes writhed in pain under it all, given some of those seasons. When I lived in Nashville I went to a number of games all over the south (SEC teams!) and saw some pretty good games including clobbering Louisville and it was fun and kept the fire burning. I’m sure Smitty had his ways of doing the same, especially with humor. Nice story.

    • Temple football helps one grow personally. You learn to handle disappointment and be persistent. You savor the good times and forget the bad. A good sense of humor and perspective is essential in sports and life. That’s why NJSmitty was so beloved. I did not know him, but I’ll be glad to carry his torch of perspective and humor.

  3. wish he would have been rewarded with a qb sneak in a certain game over a hated rival last year before he went. somehow, i think he found the humor in that; I don’t have that talent, unfortunately.

  4. I’m “NJ Schmitty”s nephew. Thanks for the kind words. Nobody ever called him Dave/David (except for his parents). He was known as Ed since he was a little kid.

    You’ll still see the van with the giant “T” around. That’s my dad’s – Ed’s brother and fellow frustrated longtime “adopted” Temple fan. (Except the last van caught on fire has been replaced by a green one). If you see it, stop by and say hi – I’m sure he’d appreciate it.


  5. thanks, brian. sorry for your loss. terrible news. I never contemplated the possibility of a temple season without your uncle. still hard to do now.

  6. I realize I’m very late to the game (I’m started to get focused on the upcoming football season, both NFL and college) and the blog entry is two months old, but the geography major (actually geography graduate degree) in me has to comment – NJSchmitty was born in Philadelphia and raised in Norristown. He may have went to Susquehanna in central PA (Selinsgrove – nice town by the way), but he was a Philly guy, so adopting Temple as his college football team rather than Penn State probably wasn’t that unusual. That doesn’t distract from the fact that anyone who didn’t have direct ties to Temple yet remained an Owls football fan through the thick and (mostly) thin for 35 years deserves serious commendation.

    May Schmitty rest in peace.

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