PSNK hoops coach Schneider resigns
College Football Videos
Those close to Penn State New Kensington men's basketball will tell you that Doug Schneider gave his all to the program, maybe even moreso at times.
He's been called a heart-of-gold type of coach.
But Schneider's new business venture — in precious metals — requires more time than he anticipated. Much more.
And the burden of trying to give both areas his undivided attention became too much for Schneider, forcing him to resign as head coach after two-plus seasons.
“I had to choose something I love over something I need,” said Schneider, 32, who lives in Apollo. “That's the thing that's so tough about these small programs. It's not your job or livelihood. My plate was too full.”
A former teacher's aide at Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Schneider decided to open three stores in his new venture.
When one in Dubois was robbed at gunpoint earlier this month, Schneider knew something would have to give.
Schneider said his decision has nothing to do with the fact the team is 0-13 this season and hasn't won a game since Feb. 2, 2012 (81-59 over Penn State Greater Allegheny).
He'd stress in all capital letters if he could: he did not walk out on the team.
“I know the timing looks terrible,” Schneider said. “I gave the (coaching and business) a trial run. When things don't go well in your own business, it's a different kind of stress. It affected everything, from how I recruited to how I managed the team.
“The (robbery) gave me a new perspective on life.”
With the in-season move, the natural question is, what happens now?
Enter wide-eyed, 22-year-old assistant Joe Mandak, who was named interim coach for the final seven games.
Mandak became an assistant three years ago as part of an internship. He played for the Lions for two seasons.
“It's a bittersweet opportunity, for sure,” said Mandak, a Valley graduate. “It's a dream come true, because this is what I want to do. I want to coach at a higher level. I started coaching when I was 19 so I have been around. I hate the way (Schneider) had to go. It was harder for him to go than for me to step in.”
Mandak will fly solo the rest of the way. There are no other assistants. Mandak, who graduated from PSNK in May with a bachelor's degree in corporate communications, works full-time at 84 Lumber in Harrison.
“The thing when we had Doug and I coaching was that while one of us was running practice, the other could go out and recruit,” Mandak said.
“Whenever the season ends, I plan to hit up as many (WPIAL) playoff games as I can.”
Mandak, who had classes with some of the current players, plans to keep his eyes on the road, and believes the team can win.
“I asked the guys if they want to go to battle or fold the season,” Mandak said. “They said, ‘Coach, we want to go to war with you.' ”
Schneider still plans to follow the progress of the Lions.
“I don't feel I failed in what I preached (at PSNK),” he said. “But I did fail in what I tried to create. I will miss being around the young men who gave so much to the program.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is the Local Sports Editor of the Valley News Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.