Open gyms give Central coach Schneider a chance to meet his new players

New Central coach Kurt Schneider is getting a closer look at his team with a series of open gyms this week.

Transition is never easy.

The Central High School boys basketball program is going through a change with Kurt Schneider taking over for Phil Cain as head coach.

This week, Schneider is getting his first exposure to his new team, running open gyms at Central.

“I just want to get some participation and let them know I’m here,” Schneider said. “It’s been nice to have the kids here getting involved and it’s good to get started.”

The Warriors went 4-19 last season, but graduated only two seniors. The turnout for Schneider’s open gyms has been lower than what he’s wanted, but he said he has taken into consideration that the Warriors are having their football camp at CSU-Pueblo this week.

Regardless, Schneider, who was the head coach at Granger High School in West Valley City, Utah, the past four seasons, wants to start installing his system as soon as possible.

“I want to get some offensive and defensive stuff going,” Schneider said. “It’s hard if you are missing kids, but when they get back I’ll teach them, too.

“That’s what happens when you take over a program. You have to do that until everyone gets comfortable.”

Central sophomore Trey Fair attended the open gym. Fair started a majority of last season as a freshman and said he’s excited to play for Schneider.

“This is really about getting to know the coach and working together to see how we jell with Coach,” Fair said. “Coach (Schneider) has come in strong, saying he’s not here to win second or third, he’s here to win championships.”

Schneider has the challenges of every new coach coming into a program. He’s learning the names of the players, and attempting to adjust them to his style.

Schneider is still in the process of moving from Utah, and hasn’t made the transition to Grand Junction yet himself.

“Moving a family, buying a house, all those things take a lot of time,” Schneider said. “I wish I could come over and be ready to go, but it’s not that way.”

Schneider said he’ll be returning to Utah before coming back to coach Central in the Mesa State College camp from July 6-9.

“It’s been tough not being here, but I wanted to see what we have and where we are at as a group,” Schneider said. “We’ll start from the beginning and see what we have skill-wise and what we need to work on.”

Schneider graduated from Fruita Monument in 1991 and will teach in the English as a Second Language program at Central.

“It’s a great community and there are a lot of things to be excited for,” Schneider said. “(During Monday’s open gym) I could see that the kids want to listen and want to work, and that’s exciting.”


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