In surprise, Schnure to return as Downingtown East girls basketball coach

UWCHLAN — When incoming Downingtown East athletic director Earl Burnham was seeking a girls basketball coach to replace Bob Schnure, he decided to search for an in-house replacement.

Burnham didn’t have to search far to find one.

Especially, when the replacement is Bob Schnure himself.

Burnham confirmed to the Daily Local News Schnure will return for a 36th season as head coach in the Downingtown School District on Tuesday. The appointment is pending school board approval.

Schnure, who announced his retirement in February, was unavailable for comment.

Burnham saw the potential Downingtown East had when he evaluated the program earlier this month. That prompted him to give Schnure a call.

“We have a premier team with veteran players coming back,’ Burnham said. “We wanted someone in place before I came in (to the position). For someone to come in as a new head coach now would be a tough transition in my first year here.’

In what would have been Schnure’s final season, the Cougars went 19-6 and won the Ches-Mont National Division title. They reached the league title game with a team that only had one senior on its roster.

This season Downingtown East is expected to be even better with All Ches-Mont first-teamer Paige Warfel returning at guard for her junior season. Along with Warfel, fellow jumiors Aryah Aungst and Lindsay Kent return to the starting lineup with senior Kaelyn Johns.

Jones, one of just two seniors on the team this season, was anxious who the head coach would be in her final year with the Cougars. She had no idea her new coach would be the same as her old one.

“It’s a huge surprise, but a good surprise,’ Johns said via Twitter. “I never expected him (Schnure) to return especially after his retirement. Even though it was a possibility, I just never saw it coming.’

Aungst, like Johns, was surprised about Schnure coming out of retirement. She believes Schnure returning brings excitement back to the program for next season.

“I’m definately really happy and excited for the upcoming season,’ Aungst said. “I loved playing for him (Schnure) and have learned a lot. He knows so much about the game and I’m glad I get to play for him again.’

Johns was curious on who the person would be to replace Schnure. She mentioned the group was getting nervous on who exactly the coach would be as the waning months of the summer are near.

Now that it’s Schnure, she can take a deep breath.

“I’m relieved to finally know who our coach is,’ Johns said. “I can’t wait to see what the season has in store with four starting varsity players returning and talented JV players coming up.’

This season could be Schnure’s final one on the Downingtown East court, which is appropriately named after him. Burnham has plans for the future of Downingtown East girls basketball going forward.

As expected, Schnure will be included in them.

“After the season, we’re defintely going to reevaluate,’ Burnham said. “We’re going to see what’s best for the athletes and for this school. Bob (Schnure) was always in the back of my mind on what we wanted to do moving forward.’

Hard to blame Burnham given Schnure’s track record.

In 35 seasons, Schnure is 769-236 in 1,005 games coached for Downingtown and Downingtown East. He has won 20 league or division titles, 11 District 1 championships and five PIAA championships.

Schnure is bound to win his 300th Ches-Mont game this season as he comes into the year with a 298-68 record in the league.

Schnure has the respect of his locker room as well. Both Johns and Aungst were excited that they would get to learn under Schnure’s tutelage for another year.

Kent, Katia Mujica and Kate Crum were estatic about the word that Schnure was returning. Mujica, expected to earn plenty of minutes on varsity this season, is glad she gets to continue her development under the coach she always wanted to play for.

“He (Schnure) has taught me a lot about the game,’ Mujica said. “I’m excited about the upcoming season and I’m sure it will be a winning season under him as well.’

Burnham’s first hire as athletic director was a slam dunk in terms of finding the best available candidate. He’s aware Schnure will get the best out of the Cougars next season.

“Being new to the program, this is an opportunity to help our student-athletes play well and at a high level,’ Burnham said. “Those girls know his (Schnure’s) system and know what to expect.

With Schnure’s return, expectations are high for Downingtown East once again. In Burnham’s mind, this team can handle them with one of the state’s greatest coaches leading the way.

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