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In the sports world we tend to focus on the numbers. Teams are judged by how many wins or losses they have. Players are judged on how many points they scored, or touchdowns made or what time they ran in the 100-meter dash.
By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers

In the sports world we tend to focus on the numbers. Teams are judged by how many wins or losses they have. Players are judged on how many points they scored, or touchdowns made or what time they ran in the 100-meter dash.

Coaches are judged as well and they usually can win or lose a job based on that very word, numbers.

Sedona Red Rock High head track and cross country coach Harry Schneider has lots of numbers to his credit.

In his first 32 years of coaching, Schneider recorded 129 championships which include league, regional, county and state trophies.

He has recorded 357 dual meet wins to only 27 losses. He has coached 464 individual state championship competitors and he’s been named coach of the year an amazing 41 times.

Granted this all includes boys cross country in the fall, boys winter track and boys spring track in his first 32 years of coaching before he even left the state of New York.

However, there isn’t one number listed that Schneider judges himself by nor do others because what matters to him is the enjoyment of the sport.

“It has always been my goal to get kids to enjoy their sport and to respect it,” Schneider said.

Schneider cares more for the 3,200-plus athletes he has coached over 40 years then anything else.

“The best part about coaching is the kids. Working with them, helping them succeed at what ever it may be,” Schneider said.

“It’s also awesome when a kid you coached 30 years ago gives you a call or comes and visits me here. That is more rewarding to me then any championship,” he added.

Schneider, 62, graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1967.

He then served in the Army National Guard from 1967 to 1972 before entering Stonybrook University to get his master’s degree in 1973.

For 30 years Schneider taught physical education at Centereach High in New York while coaching cross country and indoor and outdoor track.

After arriving in Sedona in the summer of 2000, Schneider and his wife Christine were retired and looking to spend the rest of their days together after all of life’s challenges.

Later that year Schneider decided to get involved with the high school on a voluntary basis.

“I always knew that even after retiring I wanted to still be involved with the sport,” Schneider said.

Less then two years later, his voluntary status changed to a head coaching position and the SRRHS track and cross country program has taken off ever since.

Schneider led the girls track team to a state championship last season and his boys cross country team just recently won a 3A-West regional title not three weeks ago in only the third year of the program.

“This is my passion. I want to help these kids find their passion even if it isn’t cross country or track. It’s what you live for,” Schneider said.

Schneider believes the kids here in Sedona appreciate his coaching style because he makes it fun and enjoyable.

“He makes it fun. Our coach is amazing and I have a lot of respect for him. I love this sport so much and it’s because of him,” senior Kali Gajewski said.

With all the coaching over the years, there was always someone behind closed doors encouraging and supporting him and telling him it would be OK. That special person would be his wife, Christine.

“Christine and I have been married for 25 years and she means everything to me,” Schneider said.

“All of the support and understanding she’s given me over the years has helped in more ways that you can even imagine,” he added.

Over the next few years Schneider will continue to work with the kids in Sedona, he will continue to enjoy retirement and the company of his wife and he will always remember the kids are what is most important, not the numbers.

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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