HENDERSON — Rocky Schneider sat in his office at Prairie View High School Wednesday morning happy to see the end of the first semester in sight.
About a half-hour before, the announcement had been made he wouldn’t be the school’s football coach next year. Schneider made it clear why that was the case.
“I wasn’t forced out. I wasn’t given a choice of resign or be fired. It had nothing to do with wins and losses,” Schneider said. “It comes down to my family.”
Schneider is the school’s second football coach. He was in charge for four seasons.
“Where I grew up, we had a three-tiered priority — God, family and career,” he said. “Lately, I haven’t done that. I want to spend more time with my kids and my wife and my extended family. My son is 4, and last year was his first year playing soccer. I saw one game.
“It’s those types of things that have been building up,” Schneider continued. “My dad came to visit. I think I was able to say ‘hi’ to him.”
Prairie View’s best record in the last four years was 6-4 in 2010. This year, the T-Hawks were 4-6.
“I don’t think many people expected us to finish 50-50 that year,” he said. “I expected things to have gone better this year. And to be honest, if we’d done as well as I thought we were going to do this year, it would be have been easier to step away.”
In the four years Schneider ran the program – the school has been in existence for six – he instituted a weight-training program and a program-wide fundraising effort.
“There are some things I could have done better,” Schneider said. “But I also think you improve every year. I learned to deal with adverse situations better. The amount of time I spent on my jobs here and with my family at home made me better at time management. I’m a better problem solver.”
A replacement was not named. Schneider told the district athletic director, Rich Affleck, he’d like to be part of the committee to find the new coach.
“There’s a great pool of coaches I’ve worked with on our staff. I’ve had no problem getting coaches to work with me,” Schneider said. “I’ve got a lot vested in the program, so I’d like to see who takes the job and make sure it’s the right person.”
Schneider thought of a couple of potential candidates on his staff who could slide over and take the program. He also thought of a number of retired coaches who could come in and coach.
“I don’t know if there will be a teaching job available,” Schneider said. “Whoever comes in has to do it for the right reasons. The money is pretty slim.”
Schneider said the balance between his jobs as dean of students (he’s keeping that) and running a football program was hard. That, coupled with a goal of becoming an assistant principal in the future, meant something had to go.
“That’s not to say that I won’t coach football. It may be as my kid’s coach,” Schneider said. “I know I’m going to miss it. I have the passion to coach. I love football. I love working with this age group.
“But the bigger regret would be not having that time with my family and doing right by them,” he added. “I want to spend the time with them and be a better dad and a better husband.”
Those interested should call Affleck at 303-655-8810.
Contact Sports Editor Steve Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-659-2522, ext. 224.