Men's track & field/cross country head coach Bill Schnier announces retirement
Bill Schnier

Sept. 13, 2012

Bill Schnier, who is beginning his 33rd year at the University of Cincinnati, has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2012-13 seasons.

Schnier came to UC in 1980 and has led the Bearcats men's and women's cross country and track and field teams to unprecedented success. UC track and field and cross country teams have won 12 of the school's 15 conference team titles and 160 individual/relay titles since Schnier arrived. There have been 25 student-athletes who have earned qualification for NCAA national championships, 10 of which went on to become All-Americans. The men's cross country indoor and outdoor track and field teams have won the All-Ohio championship eight times under Schnier's tutelage. Two student-athletes have gone on to win Olympic medals.

"I have spent my entire professional career attempting to build teams of quality, so retirement is only a concept to me, more relevant to someone else," Schnier said. "I will very much miss not having a team to coach. However, it is my turn to pass the baton to a younger coach and enter a different phase of my life.

"Serving UC, over 1000 athletes and their parents, and the sport which I love has been an honor. It has been a joy to watch so many people walk through the years of 18 to 22, then see them be even more productive after college. UC gave me the opportunity to do this and I, in turn, simply passed that opportunity on to others. Almost all of them made the most of their opportunity to better themselves and the team. All of my 33 years have been well spent."

Schnier has been named conference coach of the year 15 times and was twice selected as Ohio cross country coach of the year. He was named the Conference USA coach of the decade in both cross country and track and field. An astounding 47 of programs' 53 school records were set during his time at UC. He coached such notables as NBC Olympic track and field analyst Lewis Johnson and Olympic medalists David Payne and Mary Wineberg. It was also under Schnier's watch that the UC women's track and field and cross country program was formed.



In October, he will be inducted into UC's James P. Kelly, Sr. Hall of Fame. Induction into the UC athletics hall of fame will be the fourth hall of fame for Schnier. He was previously inducted into the Capital University Hall of Fame and the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was induced into the Greater Cincinnati Running Hall of Fame in recognition for his volunteer work and involvement with the local running community in addition to his status as a standout coach in the area.

"It's been a pleasure to work with Bill over the past year and I am better off for it," said UC director of athletics Whit Babcock. "He is a coach in the truest sense of the word.  He has certainly been successful competition-wise, however his legacy at UC will reach well beyond just wins and losses.  He has impacted thousands of student-athletes in such a positive manner and helped them grow as men and women.  Coach Schnier possesses integrity and he promotes sportsmanship, academic achievement and teamwork.  He is cut from the John Wooden cloth.  I can't thank him enough for his service to UC and our student-athletes.  He's a gentleman, a true Bearcat, and I wish him and Kathy the best in this next chapter of his life." 

Schnier is also in his 46th year working in education. He began his career at Trotwood-Madison High School where he taught history and coached track and field for seven seasons, leading his team to a second-place finish in the Ohio State AAA championship meet in 1975. He then spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana before coming to UC in 1980.

Many of Schnier's most special achievements have encompassed academics and character. Of the student-athletes that he has coached at UC, 16 have won the prestigious Jimmy Nippert Award, honoring the most outstanding male senior student-athlete. He has also coached three winners of the Helen Norman Smith award, honoring the top female student-athlete, and four winners of the Jean Stephens Award, honoring the UC student-athlete that best exemplifies integrity, commitment to the team, athletic department and equitable treatment of others.

Schnier is a 1966 graduate of Capital University where he played baseball for two years before switching to track and field. He set the Capital record for the outdoor 800 meters (1:54.14) and was a member of the record-setting outdoor 4x800 meters relay team (7:51.04), both of which are still school records to date. He earned master's degrees from Wright State University and Indiana University in 1977 and in 1987 earned a doctorate in human performance from Indiana.

Schnier is married to the former Kathy Henn. The couple has three adult children: Lorraine, Ellen and Keller.

The UC department of athletics will recognize Schnier during the Oct. 6 Homecoming football game.