Family, Friends, Colleagues Honor Bill Schnier

Bill Schnier
Track & Field |

May 14, 2013

Photo Gallery

CINCINNATI -Hundreds of family, friends and colleagues gathered at the University of Cincinnati Saturday evening to honor and celebrate men's cross country and track and field coach Bill Schnier, who will retire in June after coaching the Bearcats for 33 years.

The celebration, which took place inside UC's Great Hall at the Tangeman University Center, was led by master of ceremonies John Wagner and featured guest speakers UC Director of Athletics Whit Babcock, Emily Wolterman Herman, Muhammad Saafir, Keller Schnier and Rodney Van Johnson.

Wagner, who graduated from UC in 1971, was a graduate assistant for the men's track and field program and was immediately connected to Coach Schnier, as are most people.

"Coach Schnier had an amazing impact on my life," said UC Senior Associate Athletics Director Maggie McKinley. "He recruited me right out of high school, and I've been at the University of Cincinnati ever since. He had such a positive influence on me, and I know I wouldn't be where I am today if he wasn't a part of that at age 17."

Schnier began his career at UC in 1980 and garnered 12 team conference titles, 164 individual and relay titles, 25 NCAA Championship qualifiers, 10 All-Americans, two Olympic medalists and was named coach of the year 15 times.

Milling around the room, conversations of Schnier's character filled the Great Hall.

"I graduated with an engineering degree and was able to get a really good job with a Fortune 500 company," said former standout Antione Drakeford, who still holds the school record for the 400-meter dash. "All of that would not have been possible if Bill wouldn't have given me a scholarship... I wouldn't be where I am now, the position I'm in now or accomplish anything I did in college without Bill's advice, without his influence."

As Wagner stated, "It isn't what you say it's what you do." One thing Coach Schnier has done is stand as a father figure for the many student-athletes that have trekked UC's campus. From the videos to the side conversations, from the invocation to the speakers, it is obvious Schnier had an indelible impact on all those he encountered.

Saafir, the youngest of five children to a single mother, grew up in one of Cleveland, Ohio's poorest neighborhoods. Financially marginalized, Saafir never thought he would go to college. Two weeks after the Ohio State High School Championships, he received a call from Schnier and was given a scholarship. Saafir, who received the Best Freshman award during the 2000-01 season, is now a physician.

From Saafir and Drakeford to Rodney Van Johnson and Olympian Mary Wineberg, Schnier was the father figure they never had. Wolterman Herman, a teacher for Lakota Local Schools (Ohio) and former pole vaulter, echoed these sentiments stating, "Bill was always a father figure and great neighbor, and I was fortunate to have a coach I knew so well."

Keller Schnier knows Bill as both a father and coach. Keller, the youngest of three, thought of Bill as a "normal guy". But there is not much normal about someone who stays at one institution for 33 years, coaches thousands of student-athletes, is named Conference USA Coach of the Decade for both cross country and track and field and had 47 of UC's 53 school records set during his tenure. The stats on Bill Schnier are extraordinary, but his impact on people's lives is immeasurable.

"It is so great to see so many people from different eras and different parts of his life here," said Keller.

All the people in attendance, including his longtime mentor, Sam Bell, those who could not make it and those who have passed are a part of his team. Schnier stated that he would miss not having a team.

Keller stated, "It is true that he will not be in charge of a collection of collegiate athletes every day like he has been the last 33 years [at UC] and 46 years in coaching, but he'll always have a team.

"His team spans across decades," Keller continued. "It spans across the entire country, even internationally, across all events and across all walks of life."

The legacy of Schnier's teams will continue, thanks to Babcock who recently reinstated scholarships for the program and brought back to UC the men's indoor track and field program.

"Like everyone in the room, he's made an impact on my life in a short time and made me a better athletic director, a better person and better father," Babcock said. "We designated this whole last year `The Year in Schnier'... Moving forward the track and field offices and those suites will forever be named in honor of Bill and his family, and there's no better name to be on those."

For Babcock, Bill Schnier epitomizes character and confidence and is in the mold that has impacted lives at the level of John Wooden.

After throwing out the first pitch at the Bearcats' baseball game Saturday afternoon, Schnier was overwhelmed with the love and support from friends, family and colleagues at his celebration. Recognizing how much people have impacted him, Schnier honored those who have taught him life-long lessons.

"You're here to honor me because I've been the teacher, but anyone who's ever been a teacher knows that the teacher learns as much from the students as the students learn from the teacher," said Schnier.

"And over a thousand people who ran for me I must say thank you so much for those who listened, thanks to those who laughed with me, and at me," Schnier continued. "Thanks for all those who treated one another with kindness."

Bill Schnier may be hanging up his spikes, stopwatch and whistle, but he will never lose his fervor for life.

"I've loved all phases of my life from start to finish, and this is just one of those phases," Schnier said. "It's not going to be the last ... I look forward to the future, the unknown future, and that's the most beautiful of all - the unknown.

"All I can say to everyone here tonight, and those not here, is thank you from the bottom of my heart."

The legacy of Bill Schnier is deep-rooted and enduring. He has touched thousands of lives in his 46 years of coaching and 33 years at UC. As he leaves the program, he will remain ingrained in the makeup of UC athletics and knows once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.



    The Birmingham News

    Tuberville would want home-and-home with Alabama in 2015

    NBC Sports

    Cincinnati getting a home game with Alabam would be huge

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Murky two-division AAC split could become clearer soon

    USA Today

    Breakout stars for the 2014 NFL season


    Top 10 Reascons Cincinnati Will Win the AAC Football Championship

    Philadelphia Business Journal

    Celek Earns Prestigious 40 Under 40 Award

    Sports Illustrated: Campus Union

    Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel finally where he wants to be

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats will be filled with fresh faces next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Sandy Koufax's season with UC Bearcats remembered

    News Record

    Freshman basketball player creates new expectations


    Cincinnati Bearcats Shut Out No. 12 Houston Cougars, 3-0


    Dangel breaks former high school coach's UC record

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Sycamore High School grad excels in lacrosse at UC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Gunner Kiel impresses at UC football's spring game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Youthful UC can make its own history next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's defense makes statement in latest scrimmage

    Remember Gunner Kiel? He's Ready to Dominate

    Hank Hughes Q&A

    New York Times

    Growing as a Player, Beaming as a Father

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    NCAA Tournament is 'Cincinnati vs. the world'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Kiel comes out strong in Bearcats' spring scrimmage

    Sporting News

    2013-14 Men's Basketball All-Americans

    Fox Sports

    Cincinnati made me a believer


    Former redshirt Sean Kilpatrick finishing out historic career

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Q&A with UC AD Mike Bohn


    Brennan's Wooden Watch: Week 14

    Fit and healthy, Omar Cummings offering a new dynamic up top for Houston Dynamo

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Men's soccer signee Clark named Gatorade Ohio player of the year


    Munchie Legaux and Shaq Washington gain extra year

    Denver Post

    Mike Bohn eager to point Cincinnati Bearcats in right direction as AD

    The Washington Post

    No. 7 Bearcats have highest ranking in 10 years

    Yahoo! Sports

    How Sean Kilpatrick willed UC past Louisville and back into the nation's consciousness

    Cincinnati takes over AAC with win at Louisville

    Tough Bearcats don't get rattled

    UC staves off Temple to stay perfect in AAC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC looks to 15-year sports admin vet Reed-Francois for interim AD

    CBS Sports

    No. 15 Cincinnati stomps UCF, wins 11th straight

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats take down USF 61-54, win 10th straight

    USA Today

    Why Cincinnati is not a team to sleep on

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Short-handed Bearcats cautious about ranking

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's goal: win them all at home

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Cronin: Not easy, but Cats got through fatigue

    The News Record

    What you missed in UC sports during break

    FB Schedules

    Boise State, Cincinnati Schedules 2019, 20 Home-and-Home Series


    The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money

    USA Today

    Report: Colleges doing poorly at hiring women coaches

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Randolph named AAC Player of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC women's basketball knocks off Ohio State

    Bleacher Report

    Belk Bowl 2013: Cincinnati-North Carolina

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Belk Bowl: UC vs. UNC


    Belk Bowl Breakdown

    The Showdown is Set


    Cards, Bearcats set for defensive battle

    CBS Sports

    Louisville-Cincinnati Preview

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thursday is UC's fight for perception

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Don't let UC's next opponent fool you

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC jumps to No. 23 in USA Today football poll

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats break into USA Today Top 25

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    McKay turns in monster game against Rutgers


    Kay throws for 408 yards, 4 TDs as Cincinnati routs Rutgers

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats won't lessen the pressure

    News & Record

    Pressure takes toll on NC State against Cincinnati

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats face variety of bowl scenarios

    The News Record

    UC weary of SMU's aerial attack ahead of AAC clash

    Bleacher Report

    Best College Football Moments in Cincinnati History

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mark Barr returns to UC, gets ovation

    After frustrating year, Omar Cummings puts Houston Dynamo on his back with clutch playoff goal

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's Shaq Thomas 'our version of Herb Jones'

    USA Today

    Cincinnati holds off Memphis for third straight


    Cincinnati's Mark Barr out of hospital

    TopDrawer Soccer

    Furman and Cincinnati men go nose-for-nose in College Goal of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Green seizing his moment for the Bearcats

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermaine Lawrence is new breed of forward

    UC Magazine

    Hostility to Hope: Feature on Men's Soccer Player John Manga

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermiah Davis III fights to be remembered

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Justin Jackson goes from energizer to example

    The News Record

    Cronin excited for new group

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC Bearcats' Sean Kilpatrick: 'It's the season now'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats basketball will have fresh look

    The News Record

    UC Looks to RetainVictory Bell for Eighth Consecutive Season

    Miami Herald

    Kay Ready to Lead Bearcats into Rivalry Game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Former Bearcat Thompkins making most of shot in NFL

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    New practice setup could benefit UC basketball

    Munchie Legaux out for season

    Cincinnati Rolls Past Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats defense puts up dominant effort

    American Athletic Conference

    2013 Team Previews: Cincinnati Bearcats

    Sports Illustrated

    Bowl projections: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl

    Cincinnati Business Courier

    Bearcats sell out football opener against Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Depth at defensive line still strong for Bearcats

    Bleacher Report

    Cincinnati Bearcats Football 2013 Team Preview

    UC Voted 2nd

    Coach Tuberville and his players discuss their reactions to being voted to finish 2nd in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference

    QB Timetable

    Coach Tuberville discusses his timetable to choose a starting QB with The Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thompkins at Patriots' Training Camp

    Former UC wide receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, impressed many at Patriots' training camp 

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas 

    Nippert Renovation Plan

    The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the Nippert Stadium Project

    Cincinnati football's 'Crocodile Dundee'

    A former professional rugby player from Australia joins the Bearcat football team

    2013 Preseason 'Watch List' 

    Several Cincinnati Bearcats make 2013 national 'watch list'

    Sports Insider Today

    Young Cincinnati Team Looks to Improve in 2013 Amidst New Conference Setting

    ESPN Blog

    Cincinnati to play Pitt in December

    Former Bearcat Herman Qualifies for U.S. Open

    USA Today

    BearcatsTV Gets National Attention from USA Today's For the Win

    Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball Earns Top Honors in Videobombing

    The Washington Post

    Cincinnati Bearcats Do the Best Postgame Interviews

    Fox Sports

    Bearcats Rock Postgame Interviews

    Cincinnati Bearcats Revolutionize the Post Game Interview


    You'll love this Cincinnati Bearcats Post Game Funny Business Compilation

    Those guys having all the fun: An oral history of the Cincinnati baseball team's videobombs

    MSN Now

    This college baseball team wins the 'best interview' award

    Winn, Cincinnati run over Pittsburgh Bearcats Blog

    Cincinnati looks to sophomore RB Ralph Abernathy to increase production