Bob Schneck enters his 36th season at the helm of the University of Rhode Island volleyball program in 2016. During that time, he's compiled a record of 601-485-2, good for a winning percentage of .553.
He was named Atlantic 10 Co-Coach of the Year in 2015 after leading the Rams to a 20-9 record.
Schneck's philosophy of pursuing every ball - no matter how far away it appears to be - has been the cornerstone of his success at URI. His teams have captured three Atlantic 10 tournament titles (1991, '92 and '96), received three NCAA tournament bids (1985, '91 and '96) and reached the semifinals of the National Invitation Volleyball Championships in 1995.
Through the years, Schneck has shown the ability to develop talent into success. His teams have qualified for the conference tournament 18 times, including a remarkable 11 trips to the finals. Schneck's Rams have won 25-or-more matches nine times, including back-to-back 30-win campaigns in 1995 and '96. The 1995 team finished 30-8, was second in the league and advanced to the Final Four of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. In '96, when URI wound up with a school-record 31 victories, the Rams became the first school in Atlantic 10 history to win 19 conference games, then added the league tournament title to their regular-season crown and moved on to the NCAA tournament.
Schneck is widely recognized among college volleyball coaches for his astute knowledge and his ability to teach others the finer aspects of the game, but he credits his predecessor Art Carmichael for getting the program started. Schneck proudly pointed out that Jackie Elmer-Fagan, the first true superstar of URI volleyball under Carmichael's coaching, was recently inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.
"Jackie was the first female in any women's sport to earn a full athletic scholarship to URI," Schneck said. "She and Art Carmichael had a lot to do with getting this program started. Even though she didn't play for me, I am very proud to see Jackie finally inducted to the Hall of Fame."
Since taking over for Carmichael in 1981, Schneck has tutored 32 All-Atlantic 10 performers. He also has had six conference Freshman of the Year honorees and two conference Players of the Year. Schneck was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 1995 and NCAA District I Coach of the Year in both '95 and '96.
Schneck's players excel off the court as well. Kengy Gardiner-Bell (1988-91), who went on to become the seventh-ranked beach volleyball player on the pro circuit, was an All-American and winner of the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award for 1991-92. Yolanda Bogacz, the 2001 team captain, was a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Holmes Award recipient as the top female athlete at Rhode Island. Amy Kauppila (2000-02) was named a District I Academic All-American and was a recipient of the Holmes Award.
Former Ram Diane Short joined Schneck in the coaching ranks at in-state rival Brown University and, more recently, former players Abby Thornbladh and Betty Arana have served on Schneck's coaching staff. In 2007, former URI standout Rachel Bello served as one of his assistant coaches while she works to complete her kinesiology degree.
Aside from his coaching duties at URI, Schneck is active in several other areas of volleyball. He is on the staff of the USA Coaching Accreditation Program - which is composed of 40 of the nation's most experienced and successful coaches. The group works to provide standards for professional development and advancement at various competitive levels. Schneck also served on the voting panel of the Division I/Tachikara Top 20 coaches' poll for nine years and spent three years as a member of both the NCAA Mideast Regional Committee and the All-American Selection Committee.
In 1984, he helped organize and host the National Junior Olympic volleyball championship in Kingston, R.I. The following year, he coached the East team at the National Sports Festival (later known as the Olympic Festival) in Indianapolis, Ind. For over 20 years, Schneck has also directed a successful youth camp - The Bob Schneck Rhode Island Volleyball Camp, Inc. - which provides an opportunity for girls in grades 7-12 to learn the latest techniques in the sport. The camp focuses on the strategic, technical and competitive phases of the game. Schneck also runs the Rhode Island Junior Volleyball Program, which introduces kids to the game and gives Rhode Islanders a chance to compete at a national level, gaining more exposure.
Schneck graduated from West Chester (Pa.) University - then known as West Chester State - in 1974 and earned a master of science degree at the Philadelphia-area school two years later. Both degrees were in health, physical education and recreation. While still a graduate student, Schneck founded the volleyball program at nearby Octorara High School in Atglen, Pa.
Schneck and his wife Lisa make their home in Wakefield, R.I. They have a daughter, Ashley, and a son, Cameron. Lisa ('87), Ashley ('12) and Cameron ('15) all graduated from URI. Ashley is employed at Schneider Electric in Kingston, while Cameron, a former captain of the URI men's ice hockey team, is a 2016 graduate of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy and currently employed by the URI Police Department.