Passion for the game brings Schnaible back to coaching

After finishing his 42nd season as a basketball coach, Dean Schnaible figured his next step was retirement. And it was -- for all of about three months. Schnaible returned to coaching this season for three teams -- the Adrian boys and girls baske...

After finishing his 42nd season as a basketball coach, Dean Schnaible figured his next step was retirement.

And it was -- for all of about three months.

Schnaible returned to coaching this season for three teams -- the Adrian boys and girls basketball teams, and the Worthington girls -- spending his time working with the post players.

He has been working with the Adrian girls since the start of the season, the Worthington girls for the last month, and the Adrian boys for the last three weeks.

The stint with the Adrian girls is his second with the school, having previously helped in the 1980s and 1990s before heading to Ellsworth in '99.


During his time with Adrian, the Dragons won the 1985 District 8 championship -- the only one in the school's history. And part of that team was current Worthington girls basketball coach Eric Lindner.

Calling him a great motivator, Lindner remembered fondly the time when he played for Schnaible.

"It's something that I believe he, as a coach, and me, as a player, will never forget," Lindner said.

Part of what brought Schnaible back was his desire for the game, something that reaches back into the 1950s, when he played high school ball at Java, S.D.

During his career, Schnaible was mostly featured as the small forward, but did spend most of his senior year in the low post. He scored a career-high 39 points during his time in Java.

Following that time, Schnaible started to educate himself on the finer points of playing in the post, gathering up as much information as he could possibly find.

"I picked up a lot of stuff from reading books, watching movies, games, tapes, (talking to) coaches," Schnaible said.

Back to work


What brought Schnaible out of retirement started with a visit with Adrian girls basketball coach Randy Strand during a summer basketball tournament in Windom.

Strand told him there were two players he wanted him to work with -- Brittany Bullerman and Kaitlin Wiertsema.

Upon arriving at the school in the fall, Strand said the first thing he did was get the players back to the basics of playing in the post.

"When they get the ball, they go to the hoop," Strand said. "When they get the ball in the paint, they're supposed to score."

Strand also added that the work has made the girls more consistent, something that has shown in the team's current 11-8 record.

"We've always worked post moves," Strand said. "Now he takes it to a whole different level."

Strand later added, referring to the assistance from Schnaible: "It makes us stronger. His expertise about game situations, being able to talk basketball ... it's all been good."

Lindner was the next coach to come to Schnaible toward the beginning of January, asking for him to help out with his players in the paint.


"They hadn't had a post coach from the way it sounded," Schnaible said. "It just started from the basics."

What he also did was help develop more post moves with the players, creating a team which wasn't reliant on just cutting to the hoop. Schnaible also said the players took to his instruction quickly -- especially the team's underclasswomen.

And, his impact has been profound.

"The biggest impact you see is our kids (develop) some post moves," Lindner said.

Lindner the player

When Schnaible coached the Adrian boys basketball team in the 1980s -- including the 1985 District 8 title -- one of the players on the team was Lindner.

"He was a good shooter," Schnaible said of Lindner. "Very dedicated, (a) hard worker, good attitude. He was a joy."

What he wasn't, at least in Schnaible's mind, was a future coach.


"I didn't think he would pursue a coaching certificate," Schnaible followed. "He picked up a lot of his knowledge at (Sioux Falls) Roosevelt High School."

From Lindner's perspective, though, it was fun to get his former mentor to come back and help his team out.

"It was a real privilege for me to have him come back and help," Lindner said. "The coach helping the player."

And the work has paid off, especially in Maria Boever, who has developed a fade-away shot to go along with her ability to cut to the hoop and shoot from the outside.

She added that while the knowledge of the post moves is there with all the players, Schnaible isn't hesitant to let the players know if things are going wrong.

"If you do it wrong, he's like, "No, you need to do this," she said.

Down the line

Schnaible added at the end he feels both the Adrian girls and Worthington girls teams could have solid playoff runs in their future.


Especially Worthington, which Schnaible said has enough to win the sectional title.

"(Lindner) feels he can beat any team in the sectional," Schnaible said. "I do, too."

With the Adrian girls, the team is young, but could pose plenty of problems, adding that when the younger players get some experience under their belts, the Dragons could be really strong.

As for the Adrian boys, Schnaible said the team's record of 6-10 is a little misleading. And, he thinks they could surprise some people in the sectional tournament -- just like last year's team did when, as the sixth seed in Section 3A, the Dragons reached the semifinals.

"They won't be seeded very high because of their record, but they could surprise some people," he said. "They're good kids."

Good kids -- in all three programs -- who would say the same about their assistant.

What To Read Next
Get Local