DA N HAMMERSCHMIDT

  HELIX HIGH

  1982

Dan Hammerschmidt was a member of the Secret Society in 1980 and 1981. He was an All-CIF safety and a member of one of the most dominating defenses in San Diego CIF Section history. The 1980 defensive squad set a then school record with 23 interceptions and another school record with 19 fumble recoveries. The 42 total turnovers were a team record as well. The 1980 defense also set what was then a team record for fewest points allowed per game in one season (7.8 points per game) and fewest points allowed in the 4th quarter (3.5 points per game).

Dan ended his Helix career holding the school record for most assisted tackles in a season (48) and number three on the all-time list for most tackles in a season (103). He was number eight overall and number two among defensive backs for most defensive points in one season (447). The 1981 defensive signal caller and team captain capped a great Helix career by being selected the 1981 Grossmont League Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All- CIF.

Danís outstanding play earned him a scholarship to Colorado State University. Before arriving on the CSU campus the football program had struggled and in 1981 became the first major college team in history to go winless in a 12-game season. His arrival at CSU coincided with a great turnaround in the teamís success. Described by this coach as one of the finest athletes on the team, Dan made an immediate impact earning the strong safety position as a true freshman and starting all four years of his collegiate career. His senior year he had six interceptions.

Dan entered the collegiate coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at TCU working with the defensive backs in 1987. In 1988 he joined Steve Spurrierís staff at Duke University where he coached the defensive backs and handled special teams. He then spent two years at VMI where he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1996 before joining the football staff at Colorado State where he  served as their offensive coordinator until 2007. In 2008 Dan coached the wide receivers at Rice University. In 2009 he joined the staff at the University of Wyoming where he served as the Assistant Head Coach and coached the wide receivers and in 2010 returned to coach at his alma mater Colorado State. In 2011 Dan took an assistant coaching position on the staff of the Houston Texans where he  coached with his former Helix teammate Karl Dorrell who joined the Texan's staff in the same year. In 2014 Dan joined the staff of the University of Houston where he served as the Cougar's running backs coach. In 2015 he joined the coaching staff at Oklahoma State where he now coaches defensive backs. Dan has two children Holly and Mike. His beautiful wife Karen tragically passed away in July of 2006 after a long battle with cancer. Karen was a truly courageous woman who during her entire lifetime projected a positive outlook on life and never let her illness get in the way of being a great mother, a dedicated and loving wife and a friend and inspiration to all who met her during her short stay on earth. She will be missed by all but never forgotten.

Dan has had a very successful career both as a player and coach but his coaches remember him most for his unselfish attitude and dedication to the team concept. Those who saw Dan play knew that he was a tremendous defensive back, but what some didnít know was that he was an outstanding quarterback too. As a sophomore at Helix High School he quarterbacked the junior varsity to an undefeated 9-0 season and threw 22 touchdown passes. When he arrived at the varsity level Helix had another outstanding quarterback, Jim Plum, on the roster. Jim and Dan were teammates for two years. Although either one could have handled the quarterback duties the coaching staff knew that only Dan could play in the secondary where his skills were needed to solidify this area of the defense. Placing the needs of his team first Dan unselfishly changed positions and thereby allowed Jim to play a position that Dan very much wanted to play.

Jim went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in section history. When he graduated he was ranked as the third leading passer in the history of high school football in the United States. However, Danís ability as a quarterback was not forgotten and Colorado State offered him an opportunity to once again play that position. During his freshman season, injuries to the CSU secondary once again saw his coaches asking him to change positions. Just as he did it at Helix, Dan unselfishly made the position change.

Danís total team attitude provides a great example of what it means to be a team player. Quite often players on all levels of football are unwilling to place the interests of the team first. Transferring from one school in search of a starting role at a specific position is very common today. It takes a special person with great strength of character and courage to make this type of sacrifice. Dan is this type of person and the Star Chamber is honored to welcome him into the Star Chamber Gallery of Stars.

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