Downingtown East's Schnure retires

Girls' coach Bob Schnure was called "an icon" by East athletic director Jack Helm . CLEM MURRAY / Staff
Girls' coach Bob Schnure was called "an icon" by East athletic director Jack Helm . CLEM MURRAY / Staff
Posted: February 23, 2014

How coaches "do things" has always held the attention of Downingtown East's Bob Schnure.

The X's and O's, the strategy involved in the sport of basketball.

Whether Schnure was watching a game at home with his wife, Fran Baliotti, and making her rewind so he could jot down the play they had just witnessed, or listening to countless coaches such as John Wooden and Pat Summitt at clinics, his curiosity for basketball has never waned.

A paragon of success in his 35-year coaching career at Downingtown High School and then Downingtown East, Schnure still has that curiosity. He just won't be fulfilling it on the sideline next season.

After informing East athletic director Jack Helm last Wednesday and breaking the news to his players Monday after their district-playoff loss to Abington, Schnure resigned Friday, making his retirement official.

"He is an icon," Helm said. "Who wouldn't want their daughter playing for Bob Schnure?

"If I had a daughter, I would want her to play for Bob because of the person he is," Helm added. "His basketball knowledge aside, it is the person he is. He is all about integrity."

In his three and a half decades on the sidelines, Schnure coached teams that also were all about winning, as he amassed a career record of 769-236, winning almost 300 Ches-Mont League games.

"The thing I'm most proud of is the consistent level of achievement our program has," said Schnure, who will turn 67 next month. "It isn't just the titles."

Schnure's Downingtown teams reached 11 state semifinals, winning eight of those contests, and went on to capture five PIAA state championships.

His squads also qualified for the District 1 semifinals 22 times, getting to the title game 15 times, and claiming the district crown 11 times.

More than a decade ago, Helm joked with Schnure that he didn't want the highly respected coach to retire before he did because he didn't want to be the person tasked with the job of replacing him.

Now, Helm has to do just that, and he hopes Schnure will be involved in the process of finding East's next coach.

Schnure feels good with where the Cougars are for next season, happy with the current numbers on the squad, which will lose only one senior.

He can see himself helping the next East coach in scouting, saying he will support the girls any way he can.

For the first time in a long time, Schnure doesn't know exactly what next season will look like, and the man who called his coaching position a seven-day-a-week job is just fine with that notion.

His curiosity and thirst for the game aren't likely to go away anytime soon. Neither is the fun that basketball brings him.

Next season, he said of going to see the Cougars play, he just might sit in the super-fan section.

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