This year marks the end of Coach Gary Schnell’s fourteen year St. Albans’ career. While at St. Albans, Coach Schnell won three IAC football titles, helped mold young minds, and built lasting relationships. I had an opportunity to interview coach Schnell on a cold Wednesday afternoon by the lower fields, overlooking the lower schoolers as they headed home from a chilly, wet practice. I started the interview by asking Coach Schnell about his favorite St. Albans memories; he replied with, “regardless of the sport, every time we win a championship is fun.” He finished saying, “really my favorite times were watching practices,” being “with the football team,” and “watching those little guys [Lower Schoolers] at recess.”
Before working at St. Albans, Coach Schnell was the athletic director and head football coach at the St. Stephens St. Agnes School. He left because he wanted to continue to coach football when St. Stephens asked him to focus solely on being Athletic Director. His favorite catchphrase, “cheese and crackers,” that many both on the football team and in the school have heard countless times comes from his early career at St. Stephens. His relationship with Coach Bod and Coach Boswell inspired him to come to St. Albans to be the head football coach and Assistant Athletic Director.
Over his career, Coach Schnell fully integrated into the St. Albans community. He remarked how St. Albans has “always had really good coaches” and that St. Albans is unique in how all of its head coaches “work at the school as a teacher, coach, or in some other aspect.” “We are here full time,” and that helps us “know what the culture of St. Albans is.” St. Albans is also unique in how we keep a high academic standard while “caring about athletics,” said Coach Schnell. The St. Albans culture is one thing Coach Schnell has always strived to protect. He is a known proprietor of the St. Albans man: a well-rounded man in education and athletics. He says that how “he grew up,” how he “was coached,” and his early career at St. Stephens all inspired him to build meaningful relationships with his athletes and peers. Coach Schnell believes that “as an overall school, I don’t think there’s a better place than St Albans that believes in building great relationships with the boys.”
When asked for one thing the community did not know, Coach Schnell first responded with, “I’m a Giants fan.” Having grown up in northern New York, he has been a fan from a young age. He went on to remark that he “has five grandchildren, three daughters, and three great (one up and coming) sons-in-law.” He “is a family guy” through and through, and when he’s not enthusiastically yelling “cheese and crackers” at St. Albans, “he’s spending time with his family.” He has “never regretted a moment” and said that it’s incredible to “love to go to work every day.” St. Albans will certainly miss Coach Schnell’s presence, but we will always be able to remember his impact on his players, staff, and school.