Bob Schneider, who became one of the most successful high school football coaches in Kentucky history at Newport Central Catholic, died Friday at age 82.
Schneider was the head football coach at NewCath, his alma mater, for 44 seasons from 1966 to 2009. He had a record of 345-183-2, with the 345 wins ranking third in Kentucky history. When he retired after the 2009 season, he was No. 1 on the list.
NewCath announced his passing Friday night, tweeting on its official account “#346 -The Ultimate Victory. RIP Coach Bob Schneider. 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant.' Matthew 25:21.”
Schneider leaves behind his wife, Nancy; children Laura, Steve, Dave, and Linda, and many grandchildren.
Schneider led NewCath to three championships, in 1984, 2005 and 2006, and six other state championship game appearances.
Additionally, he coached the Thoroughbreds baseball team for nine years leading the 1975 and 1976 teams to regional championships. The 1976 team reached the state finals, losing 1-0 to Owensboro in the finals, and the 1975 team reached the state semifinals.
After his retirement, he continued to help coach the Thoroughbreds and break down film. He also served on the Board of Control for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association for many years, including after his retirement as head coach.
He retired from the head coaching spot after having heart surgery during the 2009 season, and he survived hospitalization after being accidentally knocked down by a player during a 2013 game.
In a 2009 Enquirer article before what would turn out to be his final season, he said retirement was never in his plans.
"I love the challenge of taking a fresh bunch of kids and trying to fit them into the best positions possible,” he said then. "It's more than the X's and O's. I love to see the kids respond. I used to play a lot of golf until I broke my leg a couple of years ago, and I do like to read, but my hobby is Newport Catholic. If you're healthy and doing what you like what's wrong with it?"
After retiring in 2010, he explained why he still wanted to help the program.
“It's not quite the same (not being the head coach)," Schneider said then. "It's actually harder, being removed from it. This is what I always loved – the playoffs. The further you went, the more exciting it got. There are a lot of things to do, a lot of things to get ready for."
Schneider grew up in Dayton, Kentucky, and attended St. Bernard Elementary School. He graduated from Newport Catholic in 1955 and went on to Villa Madonna College, now Thomas More University, where he earned his teaching degree.
He taught for 50 years, beginning his career at Covington Catholic High School in 1959. He returned to NewCath in 1961 and retired in 2009. While at NewCath, he taught English, was the athletic director for 35 years, assistant principal for 21 years and Tuition Assistance Program Director for 12 years.
Additionally, he earned his Master’s Degree, Principal’s Certification and Rank I Superintendent’s Certificate from Xavier University.
In a statement released by the school, NCC principal Ron Dawn said, “Teaching, coaching and mentoring was his life’s vocation. Coach Schneider dedicated his life not only to those he taught and coached but to the Catholic education of all the students at Newport Catholic and Newport Central Catholic. His legacy will live on at Newport Central Catholic through the Tuition Assistance Program that he helped to establish.
“Alums have expressed sentiments of gratitude and appreciation to Bob for teaching them the life lessons of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, motivation, how to win and how to lose gracefully, how to be a good man, teammate and friend.”
Eddie Eviston, a former NewCath standout who replaced Schneider as NCC head coach in 2010, won two state championships at NewCath and two at Covington Catholic, where he is currently the head coach. He issued a statement through the school.
“Coach had the ability to see the big picture and he instilled in all of us players the idea that the foundations upon which we build our team and our personal lives are really what matters," Eviston said. "The Xs and Os of football were important at that time, but the characteristics of teamwork, commitment, hard work, service, and above all, faith, are the true building blocks that would live on past high school. Coach provided us this foundation that we all continue to build upon in our lives and as most legends do. Coach will continue to live on as a part of all of us who he coached.”
A quiet, humble man in conversation, Schneider was always passionate and fiery during practices and games.
In a 2010 Enquirer article, 2010 graduate Jake Smith remembered a pregame speech in 2008 before NewCath's contest against rival Covington Catholic
"That gave me goosebumps for a week," Smith said. "He talked about how they were shooting us down and didn't think we could play with them."
NewCath athletic director and former head coach baseball Jeff Schulkens also commented.
"Coach Schneider was respected as an outstanding football coach and high school athletic director, not only in Northern Kentucky but throughout the state of Kentucky. Coach Schneider gave me my start as a baseball coach in 1996. It has been a great honor to follow in his footsteps fulfilling two additional positions he held here at NCC as athletic director and Tuition Assistance Program director.”
Current NewCath head football coach Steve Lickert tweeted a picture of Schneider with him and what appears to the 2020 edition of the Thoroughbreds.