University of Rhode Island women’s volleyball coach Bob Schneck has been a staple of the program for 34 years, yet he received the job in an unexpected way.
“Today you wouldn’t be able to get a job like this,” Schneck said. “Penn State Coach Russ Rose, who has won more championships than anyone, recruited one of my players from high school. He decided repay me and take me along to do a volleyball camp at the University of Rhode Island. So later on URI was looking for a coach [and] so Russ Rose told them about me.”
Schneck took over for Art Carmichael in 1981 and never looked back. He has remained one of the few Division I volleyball coaches to stay with the same program throughout their entire career. He amassed a record of 572-470-2, with an impressive 18 conference tournament bids and 11 appearances in the Atlantic 10 finals. Schneck said he still has the fire and looks forward to coaching against conference rivals, although he has no rival coach in particular.
“A lot of the coaches have come and gone that I could have said yes to,” Schneck said. “But there are a lot of my colleagues that didn’t last as long as I did. There aren’t a lot of coaches left who have been at the same Division I school for 35 years.”
This year, Schneck and the Rams got off to another hot start. Despite losing four of their last five games, they are currently on pace to win 20 games, and finish in the top-five in the conference, which was good enough for a 19th trip to the Atlantic 10 tournament. Schneck backs up his stability as a coach with the fact that he has never had a multiyear contract since he took over 34 years ago.
Despite the unorthodox contract situation, Schneck said he has never thought of leaving. He had some of his greatest success in the mid-1980s and 90s, reaching the NCAA tournament in 1985, 1991 and 1996, His achievements led to several offers from other schools, but moving across the country was not part of his plan.
“I was flown out to the University of Oregon,” Schneck said. “That was a year in which we were one of the top 25 in the country. I had recruited well and was looking forward to the team coming in. I had like four or five superstars coming in when the year before we had gone to the NCAAs. I was married and had a family at the time. So I decided against it in order to raise a family. At this point, now I’m 67 years old. I am now thinking about retiring, not coaching somewhere else.”
Schneck will try to snag win no. 573, and his team’s 10th of the season, against George Washington University on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Washington D.C.