Mount Carmel, Ill. – Paul Schnarre has been a fixture of the Wabash Valley College athletic department since 1973, when he was hired as the head baseball coach. He later became WVC athletic director in 1976, a position he held for 37 years before stepping down in 2013. Now, after 36 seasons as the head softball coach, Coach Paul Schnarre, the All-Time wins leader in NJCAA History, has made the decision to step down at Wabash Valley College.
"It has been an honor and privilege to serve Wabash Valley College as the head softball coach for 36 years," Schnarre said. Citing a desire to spend more time with his three grandchildren, as well as more time dedicated to traveling and playing golf, the NJCAA Hall of Fame coach decided this was a good time to turn the program over to long-time assistant coach, Asa Deffendall.
"During my 36 seasons, we have established a championship tradition and earned national recognition. Our history illustrates that we have excelled, both academically and athletically," said Schnarre.
Schnarre is the NJCAA All-Time Wins leader, with a remarkable 1404–325 record. His teams have won 23 Great Rivers Athletic Conference Championships, 11 Region 24 Titles and have made 10 trips to the NJCAA National Softball Tournament.
Schnarre continued, "I have been blessed with a rewarding career, which has resulted in many friendships and created a positive impact on many of my players, fellow coaches, and coaches of other institutions."
Schnarre, who was enshrined into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2009, will continue to help with the Lady Warrior softball team as a part-time assistant coach.
WVC athletic director Mike Carpenter stated: "Coach Schnarre is a major reason why I, and many other coaches, decided to come to Wabash Valley College. Let's also not forget, he built the athletic department from the ground up during his time as athletic director. Coach Schnarre and I have discussed the possibility of him retiring for some time now, and from day one, I've emphasized to him that it's his decision. He can stay as long as he wants…he has earned that right. His teams were always so disciplined, and we all learned a lot from him. We can't thank him enough for his hard work, loyalty and dedication to the communities of WVC and Mount Carmel."
Schnarre added that "[the] success that Wabash Valley College softball has enjoyed over the past 36 years is due to a team effort. I would like to recognize several individuals and groups who were instrumental in our championship tradition"
First, Schnarre recognized Bill Hackler. "Bill was my colleague for almost 40 years. He worked tirelessly promoting our sport as our Sports Information director."
He then thanked Mark Colvin and Asa Deffendall. "I was blessed to have two loyal assistant coaches. We worked as a team for approximately two decades, and they helped bring stability and continuity to the softball program. Asa will assume the head coaching duties in the spring, and his 18 years of experience as the assistant coach should translate into a very competent transition as the head coach."
"A big 'Thank You' goes out to all of my former and current players, for believing in me and in Wabash Valley College. Their hard work and determination resulted in a positive image for our school and district," Schnarre added.
He also thanked Drs. Harry Benson and Matt Fowler. "No athletic program can excel without exceptional administrative support. Dr. Benson and Dr. Fowler gave encouragement, guidance, and provided adequate resources to compete successfully."
To the WVC instructors, staff and Mount Carmel community: "The Wabash Valley College faculty and staff worked many extra hours to accommodate our student-athletes when we missed classed due to away games. Their tireless dedication was greatly appreciated by our players and coaches. WVC athletics enjoys remarkable community support, both financially and in attendance. Community support is critical in sustaining a championship tradition over and extended period of time."
"Last, but not least," Schnarre continued, "to my wife, Karen Schnarre. College coaching requires a tremendous amount of travel to away games and recruiting. Karen was left, on many occasions, with parenting and household responsibilities in my absence. Her comprehension and understanding enabled me to enjoy a lengthy coaching career. Plus, she was a saint, in putting up with the mood swings, which occur with winning, and losing a critical contest."
Wabash Valley College President Dr. Matt Fowler added: "Paul Schnarre is nationally recognized as the all-time winningest coach in NJCAA softball history, but he was also a great teacher and athletic director. In 1976, Paul developed and disseminated a plan to build a nationally recognized athletic program in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. Paul worked for nearly 40 years as the athletic director at Wabash Valley College in the pursuit of that goal. Paul not only wanted to be successful on the softball diamond, but he also wanted everyone around him to be successful. The benefits of his vision for our athletics program can readily be seen in the successes of our current and former players and coaches."
The Lady Warrior softball team opens up the Spring Season on Feb. 7 and will play their home opener at Paul Schnarre Field on March 17.