Schick remembered for positive influence on Geneva athletes
Even as Bob Schick neared his 90th birthday, the longtime Geneva athletic director and coach couldn't stay away from one of his favorite places -- Vikings basketball games.
Current Geneva boys basketball coach Scott Hennig recalled how much he enjoyed seeing Schick at those games, listening to stories of some of the great past teams and getting his thoughts on the current squad.
Schick, a member of Geneva's Athletic Hall of Fame and the school's athletic director from 1965 to 1986, passed away Monday at the age of 90.
"We just became really good friends," Hennig said. "The one thing I'll remember about Bob is how much he loved Geneva High School and especially the basketball program. He dedicated his life to the school and especially the students. I know how much he really enjoyed coming to the games after he retired. We are really going to miss him."
Schick first came to Geneva in 1953 teaching math and P.E. During his tenure as athletic director Geneva won 28 conference titles and two state trophies.
Besides athletic director, Schick made his mark at Geneva in a number of coaching roles including football from 1957 to 1963. He coached baseball from 1962-69 before taking over as Geneva's basketball coach in 1969 and holding that job until 1980.
His 1970-71 team won the Little Seven Conference and a district title in the final year the state had district level champions.
Schick also was an assistant coach on Geneva's 1962-63 basketball team that advanced to the Elite 8.
"One thing about Bob that was truly remarkable was his memory," Hennig said. "He could remember players, teams and games from 30 or 40 years ago. It was just a really cool opportunity for me personally to learn about the history of Geneva High School and obviously the basketball program and Bob was such a big part of that 1962-63 team. It was just fun hearing the stories."
Schick and his wife Joyce had five children. His son Mark is in Geneva's Hall of Fame, all-conference in football and basketball.
His son Kurt was an all-conference baseball player, and his daughter Karen was an all-conference softball player. The couple also had children John and Sandra, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
"You think about how busy he was with his coaching but it never felt like he was gone," Kurt Schick said. "He was always a very present father."
Kurt was the one who often would drive his dad to those Geneva basketball games. In the last few years Bob needed a wheelchair but would made sure to get to Geneva's Hall of Fame night -- plus any more games he could talk Kurt into.
"He loved to go," Kurt said. "For Dad it obviously was the game and supporting the Vikings and supporting Scott. Dad really got on me for taking him there. 'We've got to go see the team.' Dad was always very connected to the program and to the high school and always following them in the paper and always rooting for them."
The family celebrated Bob's 90th birthday on June 9, and celebrated their parents' 65th wedding anniversary two days later at their home at Greenfields Retirement Village in Geneva.
"The impact he had was immense and immeasurable when you think about all those students who went through there," Kurt Schick said. "The beauty of Dad is he was very selfless. He lived his life for others, not himself. He was so invested in everyone else and hearing their story."
Another Geneva Hall of Famer, longtime public address announcer Kurt Wehrmeister, left his thoughts about Schick on his Facebook page.
"This man had 65 years of marriage and five outstanding children with his wife, Joyce -- but many hundreds more Geneva High alumni from the 1950s to the '80s felt as though he was their second dad in the office down the hall just off the gymnasium lobby. He personified the three words, 'lead by example,' and through that, he made many hundreds of teenagers into better adults."