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Schneeberger Comes Home

Softball coach back to Braddock.

Four years ago, when John Schneeberger was the JV coach at Lake Braddock, he applied for the head softball job.

He was passed over in favor of Bruce Feinberg.

So Schneeberger left the Burke campus where both of his kids had graduated and took the head softball coaching job at nearby West Springfield.

Last season, the Lady Spartans won the Patriot District championship. In part because of his success, Lake Braddock brought Schneeberger back into the fold last week to replace Feinberg, who resigned earlier this year.

"He's a Lake Braddock guy," said Lake Braddock athletic director Mark Martino, who was the school's boys basketball coach at the time of Schneeberger's departure.

"He was a softball coach here, and he coached football for a number of years. And he continued [his success] by building the program at West Springfield."

Martino refused to comment on how many applicants there were for the opening, or about Schneeberger's departure from Braddock several years ago. Schneeberger said he wasn't sure who would succeed him at West Springfield, although he said former coach Rob Benton turned down an offer to return to the program.

Schneeberger said he has also resigned from his position as head volleyball coach, and doesn't plan on assisting with the Lake Braddock program.

Schneeberger said it was difficult to tell the girls who helped build the West Springfield program that he was leaving them.

"That's never an easy thing to do," Schneeberger said. "But I told them after the season that I would probably be leaving. It was also tough because they are losing only one kid [a senior from last year's championship]."

It was only last May when Schneeberger celebrated a district title with his team, calling the victory "immensely important for next year" in Spartans softball.

THE MOST pressing issue for the new Lake Braddock coach may be the status of Lauren Duda, the Northern Region Pitcher of the Year last season and a senior on the team.

"I had heard that she is not coming back," said Schneeberger, who takes over a team Duda led to the Northern Region title last season. "I haven't talked to her yet, but I'm going to do that next week."

Schneeberger said that at his age, 56, most people are planning for retirement and he realized he has to slow down.

"At Lake Braddock, they only have nine [home] games, at West Springfield we had 52," said the Bruins coach.

West Springfield hosts an annual season-opening tournament in addition to the district tournament and often times rounds in the regional tournament. So it wasn't uncommon to see Schneeberger at all times of the night and day—during football, basketball and soccer season—spending numerous hours prepping the field for an upcoming game, most of the time at his own expense.

"I'm tickled silly that they have the confidence in me," Schneeberger said, regarding the panel that sent their recommendation to Martino.

Additional Reporting By Greg Wyshynski.