Francis Albert Schmidt (December 3, 1885 - September 19, 1944) was an American football coach and is an inductee in the College Football Hall of Fame. Schmidt served as head coach at Tulsa, Arkansas, Texas Christian, Ohio State, and Idaho. His career record was 158-57-11. Because Schmidt's teams were known for trick plays involving multiple laterals and non-standard tackle-eligible (and even guard-eligible) formations, the press labeled Schmidt's approach as the "razzle-dazzle offense". Because Schmidt's teams were known for high scoring, the press gave him the nickname Francis "Close the Gates of Mercy" Schmidt.
Schmidt was born in Downs, Kansas and played college football for the University of Nebraska. He earned a Varsity letter with the Huskers in 1905 and earned a law degree from Nebraska a few years later. From 1915 through 1916 Schmidt joined the football coaching staff of the University of Tulsa. World War I, however, interrupted Schmidt's coaching career. He served in the Army and rose to the rank of captain.
Schmidt was hired as the Tulsa head coach in 1919. In his first season that team finished with a record of 8-0-1 and outscored opponents 592-27. His record at Tulsa, after a three year stay, was 24-3-2. Schmidt had defeated Arkansas by a score of 63-7 in 1919, and the Razorbacks hired Schmidt away from Tulsa in 1922. In seven years at Arkansas (1922-1928) his record was 41-21-3.
Schmidt's most memorable years, however, were at Texas Christian and Ohio State. In five years at TCU (1929-1933), Schmidt won two Southwest Conference championships and had a record of 47-5-5. In seven years at Ohio State (1934-1940), Schmidt won two Big Ten Conference championships and had a record of 39-16-1.
Schmidt's most notable contribution to the popular culture came in his first year at Ohio State. The Columbus, Ohio press asked Schmidt about the team's chances of beating rival Michigan. Schmidt replied, "Those fellows put their pants on one leg at a time, the same as everyone else." This phrase had previously been a Texas regionalism, but because of the press attention given Schmidt it soon became an internationally known cliché. Ohio State beat Michigan the first four years Schmidt coached there; since that time, any Ohio State player that defeats Michigan is awarded a "Gold Pants Charm", a gold lapel pin shaped like football pants.
Schmidt finished his career with two years at Idaho (1941-42), when that school was in the Pacific Coast Conference. His record there was 7-12.