Sunday, April 19, 2015

SFA’s Schneider front-runner for KU post

Stephen F. Austin head coach Brandon Schneider shouts adjustments to his team's defense in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Stephen F. Austin head coach Brandon Schneider shouts adjustments to his team's defense in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Kansas University moved three steps closer last week to naming Stephen F. Austin coach Brandon Schneider as its next head women’s basketball coach.

The search committee headed by KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger interviewed Schneider on Tuesday, Arkansas-Little Rock coach Joe Foley on Wednesday and Wichita State coach Jody Adams on Thursday.

Schneider had the inside track on the job entering the interviews and widened the gap based on the three finalists’ interviews, according to those with knowledge of the process.

The ultra-intense Adams’ case was not helped when the Wichita Eagle revealed in a Friday report that four players, including two starters, are transferring from the program. Adams has won big at the Missouri Valley Conference school but has had an unusually high transfer rate, which many trace to the tension-filled nature of her practices.

Foley, who has coached UALR to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, reportedly is involved in talks with his current employer regarding a contract extension.

Barring a last-minute change of heart by one or both of the sides, or a snag in contract negotiations, Schneider could be named as fired Bonnie Henrickson’s successor early this week. Friday is the first day of a weeklong open evaluation period for recruiting, an opportunity any new coach would not want to miss.

A native of Canyon, Texas, Schneider played at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas (1991-95). He spent the next three seasons as an assistant coach at Emporia State, where he took over as head coach in the 1998-99 season, his first of 12 years in that position.

Schneider coached the Lady Hornets to the NCAA Div. II women’s basketball Final Four in his first and final seasons at the MIAA school and won the school’s first national title in any sport in 2010. He is the winningest women’s basketball coach in Emporia State history with a 306-72 record.

In five seasons at Stephen F. Austin, Schneider has a 95-66 overall record and a 57-29 mark in Southland Conference play at the school located in Nacogdoches, Texas. The Ladyjacks have won back-to-back Southland Conference regular-season titles with a combined record of 29-7. His teams went 28-22 in conference games in his first three seasons. The Ladyjacks have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2006 and lost in the first round of the WNIT this year, concluding a 23-8 season.

Schneider and wife, Ali, have two sons, Cash and Cole.


Gavin Fritton 5 years, 1 month ago

I admit that I really don't know much about women's basketball so my opinion is worth just as much as I am being paid for it (nothing). But I can't help but feel that this is like a surrender to circumstances and kind of a "meh." hire, if the article is accurate.

Please feel free to disabuse me but we're losing the UALR to, um UALR? Is our job that bad that we can't pay a guy to move up to a power five conference and take the budget and facilities from UALR? Really? Does our job suck that much? Is UALR that great?

And I agree that it sounds like Adams has red flags all over her, so let's definitely stay away from her. But what makes me curious is why are we only able to get these three people interested in this job in the first place? One guy who thinks UALR is a better gig, one coach who apparently wins but can't keep players and one coach who has had a lot of success at a lower level but can't get his D-1 school into the tournament in a decade? That's really the cream of the crop that would take a look at this job?

Andy Fischer 5 years, 1 month ago

Gavin, I couldn't agree more. I was hoping for a "wow factor!" None of these three are that.

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 1 month ago

Exactly. No one thought we were going to get Geno Auriemma or Muffet McGraw, but we can't get one of their assistants?

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 1 month ago

KU women's basketball is pretty much viewed in the same light as KU football. This program hasn't had a winning conference record in 15 years and has only 2 tournament appearances during that time frame as well. So no, KU was not landing a big name coach or assistant to replace Bonnie.

Gavin Fritton 5 years, 1 month ago

Fair enough, but Bonnie Henrickson has been to the tournament more recently. What is the point again?

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 1 month ago

If your point is KU should be able to walk into Storrs or South Bend and hire an assistant off of either staff, your opinion of KU's standing and reputation within women's basketball is very flawed and misinformed. KU is a bottom tier power conference job and not going to attract highly thought of coaching prospects. In a league that regularly puts over half the league in the NCAA tournament on a regular basis, to only have 2 NCAA tournament appearances in 15 years speaks volumes about how down in the dumps KU has been. The players KU are recruiting now have no memory of KU ever being the caliber of program they were in the 90's.

Joe Ross 5 years, 1 month ago

To me, this would not be the kind of hire that says Zenger is serious about changing the culture at Kansas. Im just very surprised and disappointed. All that excitement about a new direction is gone for me personally. I hope he proves me wrong.

But I rather doubt it...

Jeremy Bolinger 5 years, 1 month ago

Schneider is a very good coach. Don't sleep on him. He doesn't wow with the sexiness of others, but he'll win a lot of games.

But lesbehonest...... None of the sexy coaches were coming here anyways.

Joe Ross 5 years, 1 month ago

None of the sexy coaches were coming? He didnt even give Ontjes or Turgeon an interview!

Jeremy Bolinger 5 years, 1 month ago

I'll take a guy who has won big in D2 over a guy who wins big at a JUCO all day, everyday.

Joe Ross 5 years, 1 month ago

If he has won so "big", then why are you lamenting no "sexy" coaches coming? On the one hand you say he's won big, while on the other you say he doesn't "wow". Makes little sense. Winning "big" doesnt "wow" or make a coach "sexy"?

Joe Joseph 5 years, 1 month ago

Schneider is a proven winner, but he hasn't proven he can resurrect a program. That's not his fault, considering he has only taken over for coaches who had built cultures of winning, however.

I, too, am a bit surprised by this (likely) hire. I was expecting someone who had a history of turning programs around. But that type of hire would have most likely commanded a big paycheck, ala Bonnie's...

This appears to be a pretty "safe" hire and the start of a developing trend with Zenger. Just like with Beaty, Schneider is a relative unknown commodity, who won't command a big contract. It's a low-risk move. Due to the state of the women's program - and relative apathy of the fan base - Schneider will have the duration of his contract to make a difference and at little cost to the university. If he fails, the university can sever ties really in no worse financial or win/loss status than it was before. It's not a splashy hire. Neither was Beaty. If neither produce, it's little skin off the U's back. If they succeed, even just on a small level, than Zenger looks like a genius by finding the up-and-up and saving the University money.

I hope Schneider can get the job done, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Dyrk Dugan 5 years, 1 month ago

Well it's disappointing regarding Adams, to say the least. I thought she would be the top choice among the three; but if her perception is she is running players off, that's not a good place to start. Obviously, every situation is unique but it looks like KU has made up its mind.
So let's get the offer to him and get him in here. We have a recruiting class to secure and a yearly losing league record to turnaround....let's get to work. Go Jayhawks! :)

Gordon Penny 5 years, 1 month ago

This guy will be a bust. You heard it here first.

Robert Lyons 5 years, 1 month ago

Yes, he was my 3rd choice among the 3 until I read articles in the Little Rock and Wichita papers. Foley was quoted that he interviewed just to see what was going on and Adams was losing 4 players to transfer. Foley was to sit down and discuss a big raise and Adams was turned down by Arkansas last year. True, the last person who won the div II title at ESU went to Mizzou and failed. The current Mizzou coach was hired by Zenger at his previous school where they were able to beat KU in the WNIT. I sort of believe that is why MU wanted her. This year she had a 19-14 record and her team easily beat K-State in the WNIT. That seemed to be a good hire by Zenger and I'll reserve judgement on this one. It is possible that Zenger thought that JUCO to Div I is too big a jump. On the other hand, maybe they were not that interested. I certainly am not an Athletic Director and I am glad to leave this to someone else. We will still be women's basketball boosters in support of the young ladies looking to get a college education and play ball and we will still get season tickets and attend every game we can get to.

Robert Lyons 5 years, 1 month ago

I think you are right about Foley. Actually, it was Adams that Arkansas passed over.

Scott Burton 5 years, 1 month ago

You are wrong Penny,you don't know nothing this coach.Awesome Hire!!!

Joe Ross 5 years, 1 month ago

Hyperbole (hi-PURH-buh-lee): noun, Rhetoric

  1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.

  2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”.

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