Coach’s Box: Schnell teaching students character through basketball, English


Sydney Rowe

Coppell basketball coach Clint Schnell talks to Mesquite players on Dec. 10 in the CHS Arena following the nondistrict game. Schnell has been the head Coppell boys basketball coach for two years.

Akansha Singh, Staff Writer

Coppell varsity basketball coach and English teacher Clint Schnell has always had an affinity for basketball, as he played the sport growing up. Schnell hopes to use his coaching and teaching to shape students into better people, both on and off the court.

When did you start coaching?

I started coaching in 2009. I came over [to Coppell] with [former athletics director] Joe McBride from Frisco Liberty. I was an assistant coach with football and basketball.

Did you play basketball growing up?

I played it during middle and high school [in Spearman] along with a couple of other sports, but basketball is my favorite.

What makes it your favorite?

I like the game itself. It’s fun to watch five guys play together. The fun part about basketball is that you play both ends – you’re not a specialty player. It’s a fast-paced game, with a lot of action and fun.

What is your favorite aspect of coaching? 

It’s working with the guys – helping them get better, develop and grow. It’s been really special for me, coming back [to CHS], because I’ve gotten to see a lot of players I currently coach that I knew as little kids at basketball camp. Watching them grow up through the sport of basketball is fun.

What do you like about teaching English?

The thing I love most about English is the interpretation a person can take away from what they’ve read and seeing how someone else can perceive a piece differently than someone else who read the same thing. I really like the creativity.

What are the similarities between teaching English and basketball?

Everything you do – on the basketball court or in class – is skill-based and you can learn and grow. It’s interesting on the basketball court when we have a certain play, and guys have different interpretations; it’s the same thing with literature when you read a novel and have a different interpretation or idea of the work than someone else. With both, you can learn and start thinking about things differently as well. 

What are your hobbies or favorite activities outside of coaching?

I’m big into all kinds of sports. I love watching baseball. I grew up on a ranch [in Spearman], and my dad still runs it, so I go back there at times and help him.

What does your typical week look like?

I come in for varsity basketball practice first thing in the morning, then I go to teach a class, then I come back down to refresh basketball later in the day. During the season, we’ll play two games [a week], typically on Tuesday and Friday, and the first practice before that involves skill development – working on our offense and defense. 

What do you want your players to learn about basketball and life in general?

The biggest takeaway that I want my guys to learn is they are capable of so much. They have so much potential, not just on a basketball court playing a game, but in their lives as well. I want them to walk out and be better men of character. I want them to go out and be competitive in their life and be successful at whatever they pursue, whether it’s their career, family or being a great father someday.

What are your hopes for the team this year and in the future?

This year, we’re off to a great start. We have a goal to win district and it’s been 16 years since Coppell advanced past the second round of playoffs, so we want to make it past the second round and to the third round. If they keep working and playing like they have, it’s very doable.

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