After a season as an assistant, Schnicker is promoted to lead
Kevin Schnicker and his family wanted to live on the lake. What started as a simple career move in that interest for Schnicker has now developed into much more than that.
Schnicker was promoted last week from his former position of eighth grade boys' basketball head coach and varsity assistant at School of the Osage to varsity boys' basketball head coach.
"After my son's senior year we came down and got on here. We decided that we wanted to move down to the lake. I worked with Coach Denbow last season and it was a great experience," Schnicker, a native of Columbus, Ga., said.
Schnicker is taking over a program that went 9-15 overall last season and fell in the second round of district tournament play. The last time the Indians recorded a winning record was the 2008-09 season.
"Coach Denbow and I sat down a few months ago and laid down the philosophy that we want with this program. For a month that hasn't changed so that will be good for the kids. My demeanor may be a little different than Coach Denbow’s but that’s about the only change I can see. He also did a great job in the community with the youth program. The younger guys have had me so they know me. I'm very energetic and the older ones are learning more about that this summer. We’ve had some open gyms already and I’ve started to install that. An example would be that you jog eveywhere, there’s no walking, If you want to get a drink you are jogging off the court. I want them to play very hard but be disciplined also. They need that so if things aren’t going well they won’t get on each other or try to change things," Schnicker elaborated.
As challenging as the 2013-14 season was for the Indians, 2014-15 could be even more so.
"I didn't see all of them [the other teams in the conference] last year so I'm doing research right now to figure it out. Versailles won the conference last year and they have their best guard coming back. Warsaw has two juniors from last year that are very good. One of them is probably the best player in the conference. California plays hard and Eldon is a big rival. I see the conference being very tough, which is good because we moved up to 4A for districts," Schnicker added.
One of the immediate challenges is filling his staff.
"We were already short one coach but we hired Isaiah Ryan from Versailles to coach our freshmen. He went to Missouri State and is a great post guy. We have seventh and eighth grade coaches in place. We just have to find one more," Schnicker commented.
Schnicker isn't coming into this green, however. His experience at Smith-Cotton High School and over 20 years in the United States Air Force have prepared him.
He took over the head varsity boys' basketball job at Smith-Cotton in 2009 and was able to give that team its first winning season in over 15 years in just his second year at the helm.
While Schnicker desires to establish a winning tradition, he knows that in prep sports other things are more important than winning.
"My vision for the program is to have kids that have self-discipline to do the right things in the classroom and out of school. We want Osage to stand in the right spot light of having kids that have integrity and a positive attitude. I'm big on effort, energy and excitement. We want them to be better in society. Our goal of becoming better as a team, learning dedication and teamwork, will hopefully make them better citizens," Schnicker explained.
Schnicker says his life away from work still revolves mostly around sports.
"It's all sports mainly. My wife played college ball and both of my kids play college ball as well. My younger son just signed a scholarship with Missouri Valley. We are a sports-oriented family so that takes up a lot of our time. We have dogs so we like to take them out and have fun with them. Getting on the water is fun here. We like to travel during the summers. I still play a little bit and my wife plays still as well," Schnicker stated.
School of the Osage's boys' basketball team begins its season on Nov. 25 at home against Cole Camp. Schnicker’s tenure, and his evaluation by all those interested in the welfare of Osage’s boys’ basketball team will begin that night.
How the first quarter, half, game, season of the Schnicker tenure with the Indians will go remains to be seen. What's for sure is that with all the energy and resources that he has, for all the alumni, fans an d community members who are hungry for a winner in Osage, Schnicker will try to satisfy.