Bob Schneck, the face and head coach of the volleyball program at the University of Rhode Island for 36 years, took the time to reflect on his career since entering his final season.
During his time as coach for URI, Schneck has won three Atlantic 10 tournament titles (1991, ’92 and ’96), and received three NCAA tournament selections (1985, ’91, and ’96). He will leave behind a lasting legacy felt not just by URI, but by the entire collegiate volleyball community.
Schneck started his coaching career after graduating from West Chester University in 1974, and also earned his master of science there in 1976.
“I coached at Octorara High School in Atglen, Pennsylvania right out of college,” Schneck said. “I was an intern at Octorara and was hired directly from my internship. I was a volleyball player and they wanted to start a girls’ volleyball team so they chose me for the coaching job, which I did for five years.”
Schneck’s road to URI was definitely an interesting one that included help from some great role models along the way. Pennsylvania State University’s head coach of 38 seasons Russ Rose, who has one of the top programs in the country each year, was Schneck’s coaching mentor from his days at Octorara.
“I had a setter one of my first years here who went on to play for Russ at Penn State starting as a freshman,” Schneck said. “We became friendly the more he recruited her before she arrived at Penn State. Russ came to me soon after and told me he was doing a camp at the University of Rhode Island. He wanted to pay me back by having me help out at the camp. So I came and did the camp with him, and I’ve been here ever since.”
During Schneck’s time at Rose’s camp, he made a strong impression on the athletic director at the time and was given the opportunity to take over the volleyball program from coach Art Carmichael, who may be recognizable due to his namesake serving as the court the volleyball Rams call home.
“Russ really helped me get the job here and without him I would have probably been coaching at Octorara for a much longer period of time,” Schneck said.
The two friends-turned Division I volleyball coaches ended up becoming two of the longest tenured coaches in the country, both being rewarded for their commitment to hard work and dedication. Schneck not only found his identity as a head coach here at URI, but also his identity as a husband and father.
“URI has done so much for me these past 36 years,” Schneck said. “I met my wife Lisa here and both our children graduated here. My son Cameron now works here for the URI Police Department. I could not be more proud to have been a part of the community coaching for all of my seasons.”
Coach Schneck has been at the forefront of a great amount of success in his three-plus decades of coaching volleyball at Rhode Island. He gives much of his credit to his assistant coaches and athletes that paved the way.
“Kengy Gardiner (1998-91), Yolanda Bogacz (1997-01), and so many other great athletes really helped me create a great program here,” Schneck said. “Along with all of my assistant coaches and faculty now and over the years we really are a big family here. I have high hopes for the future of our program, but for now I’m going to focus on this season making our team the best we can be.”
Currently on a three-match win streak, Schneck’s team (7-7) will be back in action on Friday, as they hope to build toward what has the makings of a truly bittersweet season for the Rams.