The former coach of the Northmont Thunderbolts sits as area football jobs open and close…without him getting as much as an interview.
Englewood – With the interesting news of this week that Covington football coach Dave Miller is leaving the Cross County Conference power after nine seasons to become the new head coach at Kettering Fairmont, it’s stirred more than a little interest as to who the candidates will be that seek to replace him.
Miller leaves some big shoes to fill. In nine seasons he won 86 games against 20 losses (81% winning pct.) and took the Buccaneers to the post-season playoffs in each of those years.
But more, the Covington legacy of football is an even bigger role to assume in area Division VII football, the winningest small-school program in the modern era of the OHSAA post-season championship format not to have won a state title. Before Miller there was Kevin Finfrock (34-9, 83%), Ted Peacock, (42-5, 89%), and Bob Riley (36-15, 70.5%).
And of course, before those four Larrie Tisdale took the Buccs to 89 wins in twelve seasons…and Charlie Burgbacher won 34 more games in his six-year tenure as coach.
So, whoever ends up as the next Covington football coach will be more than just morning coffee talk at Buffalo Jack’s. There will be some good candidates, but, will Lance Schneider, the former head coach at Northmont, be one of them?
It’s a question about which no one wonders more than Schneider himself, who shared this week that he’s been passed over for numerous opportunities since the end of football seasons…without so much as an interview granted.
He was dismissed from Northmont prior to last football season for an e-mail…sent to members of his football staff…in which he was harshly critical of some players on the T-Bolts roster. Only, the email didn’t stay within staff, and was ultimately shared with members of the school board and administration.
“Was it unfortunate?” says Schneider. “Yes. Do I regret it? Yes.”
But in the next breath he states his record of service to the school system, the community, and a football program that’s consistently sent players during his tenure to the highest levels of college and professional football. Former defensive back Kurt Coleman will start for the Carolina Panthers this weekend in Super Bowl 50!
“In all those years I was never in trouble, never late, and never missed as much as a day of work,” says Schneider, who openly states that his dismissal was the result of district politics.
As to other, ancillary rumors surrounding the cause for his firing, he dismisses those as untrue, irresponsible, and ridiculous.
“The issue was the e-mail,” he states flatly.
That was then, but now there’s another issue. Lance Schneider wants to coach again. Competitive and determined to clear his name, he’s willing to interview with anyone that will give him that opportunity. Ignored for area positions recently filled, including Fairmont and Valley View (according to Schneider), he states his case for professional and personal redemption.
“One, I want to prove to people that I’m not the monster that I’ve been made out to be.
“And two, I’d like to coach and teach another ten years to complete my time for retirement. I’ll talk to anyone. And they’ll have me to the end, even at Division VII. I’m not going to walk out for a bigger job.”
That may take some time. At least two area athletic directors contacted have been unwilling to even discuss Schneider’s availability, and asked to remain off record. Another simply said, “It depends.”
In the meantime he remains the most accomplished and capable candidate in the field, his style of play wide open and entertaining; his record the envy of most of his contemporaries, except for one thing.
His name needs clearing – amongst a culture that encourages forgiveness and extends open minds to other, more public figures whose transgressions reach far beyond that of a caustic email.
It remains to be seen. Will someone take a chance…on Lance?