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Schnable vacates head slot : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Schnable vacates head slot
Oswego boys' basketball coach accepts principal role in District 204

by Kristin Sharp


When Kevin Schnable joined the Oswego boys' basketball program, Oswego was known as a football school and a powerhouse in the postseason.

Over 17 seasons, Schnable worked to put Oswego on the basketball map, building from a 6-20 finish to the 1999-2000 season to a school-record 28 wins in 2012-13.

That span has also included a Class 3A state runner-up finish, a Southwest Prairie Conference title and a series of postseason accolades and winning records.

Last Thursday, Schnable met with his players to announce he has stepped down from the position as head coach, pending school board approval on June 16. He will be leaving Oswego, heading east into Indian Prairie School District 204 to become principal at McCarty Elementary School.

"It's in line with leadership and that's what I love to do; lead people," Schnable said. "I got an opportunity to lead a school community and the current position I'm in doesn't allow me to do that. At the same time I get to return to my roots of elementary education. ... It's basically a family-based decision. The ton of time that not just coaching took, but the combination of being a Dean and a head basketball coach took a ton of time away from my family and it can be better spent with them."

Schnable and his wife Dina have two young children: Kara, who will enter fifth grade in the fall, and Eric, who will begin third grade.

Schnable, an Oswego alum, started his career in District 204 after graduating from North Central, and moved into Oswego School District 308 one year later teaching a third/fourth grade class at Old Post.

He spent two more years at the elementary level before joining the Oswego staff as an English teacher.

Schnable spent five years in the classroom, and the past 10 years in administration as a Dean of Students.

"The main reason I moved to the high school was to be the basketball coach and it's time for me to make a move and go make a difference in the lives of kids at an earlier age with younger kids," Schnable said.

Schnable took over a program that, in the previous 60 seasons, had just two 20-win seasons. Fast-forward to the previous six years, and Oswego has averaged 21 wins and won two regional championships and a sectional title. The 2009 Class 3A state runner-up trophy was followed by a school-record run last winter, which culminated with a 28-3 record and the program's first conference title since 1998.

Oswego closed the 2013-14 season with a 12-16 overall record with two freshmen, four sophomores and a junior making up the heart of the lineup.

"I'm the first one to admit that it took us longer than what I wanted to get it going, but once it did, we made a big splash," Schnable said.

"We averaged 18 wins over the last 10 seasons and 21 wins over the last six, and we've had postseason success. I think when I first came in as a young coach I tried to do everything myself and learn by doing. Once I surrounded myself with good people, specifically a great group of coaches, we were able to develop basketball players, kids who love basketball first or was their primary sport. Rather than just having football players playing basketball, those guys became our role players. At the very beginning, we had football guys playing basketball. ... That's one thing we've done well here is partner with Panther football. To do it at a football school, it's really rewarding. It comes down to the fact that I was so blessed with the coaches I've had on staff and the kids we've had in the program, the parents, and the fans. It's been a fun ride. I'm not going out on top, I'm not going on when the cupboard is bare. I feel like it's time for me to leave the game and take on a new challenge and do what's best for my family."

Schnable made decision to pursue the principal position after receiving a call on May 1, and the process moved quickly. He worked through the interview process and met with the District 204 superintendent, Dr. Karen Sullivan before meeting the McCarty staff on May 28. He made the announcement to the Oswego basketball staff last Thursday.

"It definitely shocked a lot of people because we know how much he loves basketball and coaching, and making better people - setting them up for the future," said Zach West, an incoming senior and four-year veteran in the program. "I've known him for awhile because I used to go to the Future Panther camps. He's helped me with all my recruiting and contacting coaches. It's a shame to see him go, but he put himself in a great position for his future and for his family, so congrats to him."

Assistant coach Matt Borrowman is currently working as the interim head coach, taking the team to the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout last Friday and Saturday where the squad played five games. Borrowman has spent 14 years in the basketball program and the last 10 years on the varsity sideline with Schnable.

"His decision to leave basketball weighed heavily on his mind, but having more time with his family is certainly a priority of Kevin's. ... The position is an opportunity that I don't think he could pass up, and he will be phenomenal at it," Borrowman said of Schnable. "The kids in the program were put in a new place and he's leaving the program in a phenomenal state considering where it was when he began.

Schnable is set to begin his new position at McCarty Elementary on July 1, but first, he plans to enjoy his first June without a full schedule of basketball camps and suburban shootouts in 18 years. But he certainly won't be a stranger to Oswego baseball games.

"I'm leaving it in good hands and I feel good about that. We're leaving it better than we found it. I feel like if anything, we built the program of class and of success and we now have state-wide reputation," Schnable said. "We had a fun run. I told them I'm saying good-bye as your coach, and I'm saying hello as OPB's biggest fan."

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