Longtime Wall Assistant Lands Veribest Head Girl's Basketball Gig
VERIBEST, TX -- The Veribest ISD School Board will finally get a chance to approve a finalist for their vacant girl’s head basketball coach position.
Longtime Wall assistant coach Chris Schlicke will be presented before the school board on Monday and the man who’s spent the last eight years at Wall told San Angelo LIVE! he intends to take the job if approved.
The board is scheduled to have a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
A little over a month ago, a finalist, Andrew Spencer, was reported to be in the same position, but eventually opted not to take the job.
Schlicke, who has spent nearly the last decade learning from Tate Lombard, was interviewed for Lombard’s vacant post at Wall. After former state champion Kevin Richardson was named to fill that role, Schlicke said he needed to reevaluate his career path.
Schlicke, who’s ultimate goal is to be a head coach, said he felt he needed to prove himself as a head coach.
“I support Wall 100 percent in their decision to go after Kevin Richardson," Schlicke said. "I got to meet Kevin Richardson when he came and interviewed and talked to him a little bit, shook his hand. I've known him through the coaching community and from coaching against him at Canadian. I know he's gonna do an outstanding job at Wall.
"Once they made that decision with Kevin, I just had to reevaluate what I wanted to do with my career and being a head coach was one of those things I wanted. When this opportunity with Veribest came up, it was very intriguing and very exciting for us to be in contact with each other and talk about this head coaching job."
The move to Veribest was a no-brainer for Schlicke. He knows he will inherit a talented team coming off their best season in school history that included their first-ever regional tournament appearance.
“One thing that sold me is, I know the talent they have coming up,” Schlicke said. “I know from their young kids, they have a good freshman class coming up and I think they have some pieces in there with their sophomores and their juniors and I think they only have one senior that’s gonna be there this year. The talent really sold me there … at Veribest.”
The added benefit is that Schlicke and his wife will not have to make a big move for his first head coaching job and Veribest’s similarity to Wall.
“It did remind me of Wall -- the small town feel, the small town community, the small classrooms, the small kid size,” the UTSA alum said. “It did remind me of Wall, which is one thing I think I like, a smaller community. I like to get to know the families and the kids.”
Schlicke is hopeful to continue to restore tradition at Veribest and thinks his time at Wall will help him do that.
“Luckily for me, I’ve been around the Concho Valley and I’ve seen Veribest grow as a program,” he said. “They’re starting to come into some of their best basketball. (I was) keeping an eye on them last year and I know beating Blackwell three times is big for them. Of course, you have to be able to keep your eye on them as one of the teams in the Concho Valley playing really good basketball at a really good time. That really played into it and I know the tradition they have there. That’s one thing I’m going to bring in coming from Wall, the tradition of where we wanna be each year and how are we gonna get there each year and what work has to go into that to reach those expectations.”
Knowing how well Veribest has done historically prior to this decade, Schlicke has high expectations. But, much like what was done at Wall, he doesn’t want them to compare themselves to past teams.
“One thing we’ve done during my time at Wall is try not to compare ourselves to previous teams,” Schlicke said. “As well as it’s gonna be a new team coming in, it’s gonna be a new head coach coming in, it’s gonna be a new offensive style coming in, possibly. They’re gonna have to learn how to adjust and play together and learn the game together. So, those expectations are there to be successful, but we’re not gonna compare ourselves to previous teams.”
When coming out of college in 2011, Schlicke admitted he didn’t initially know where Wall was. However, getting to learn from Tate Lombard and his father, Joe, the current head coach at Canyon, ended up making his choice to coach there the best one he could’ve made.
“Man, that is about as big as I could get,” Schlicke said. “It’s been amazing. … I got blessed to come on and my first year was with coach Lombard his first year at Wall. I knew from the first time I got to talk to him and be around him that he was someone I needed to stick around to. A good quote I know is, ‘It’s who you hang around with and who you associate with that can tell a lot about a person.’ And I wanted to do that and be around coach Lombard and be around Wall as long as I could. I guess that time just kinda ran out for me and coach Lombard at Wall. Different things needed to happen and we moved on to different parts of our life.
“But I think that it’s huge for me to take this on. And it gives me confidence that he instilled in me that I had to take into different aspects. He gave me ownership and leadership within our program as we went along. And I got to learn from one of the best coaches in the state. Not only from him, but also his dad. His dad was a great influence on me as well. I remember a few years ago, I got to sit down and have breakfast with Joe Lombard and I looking around, kinda pinching myself, thinking ‘people would pay money to do this’ and I’m blessed enough to know the guy and eat breakfast with a legend. So, it was amazing.”
Schlicke’s time at Wall was building to his break as a head coach. While serving as Lombard’s assistant in basketball and Steve Bain’s assistant in softball, as well as with Ashley Gould and Robynn Jones in volleyball, Schlicke eventually morphed into a sort-of second head coach for each program, meaning if asked to run practice or even coach a game, there was confidence he could get the job done.
That experience has gone a long way for him, Schlicke said.
“I’ve had some great mentors along the way,” he said. “First off, not even basketball-wise, but coach Gould, who just got a principal job inside San Angelo ISD. Me and her and coach (Michelle) Mackey started the volleyball program at Wall. I got to learn how to start and run a program. So, I got to see both ends of it. I got to see a program that was taking off at Wall and going to different heights. Then I got to see how to start a program with coach Gould and continue running a program with coach Jones in volleyball.
“Then I’ve been really lucky to be around coach Bain in softball. That has been huge for me to be in the spot where I am today to take this Veribest job. To finish it off, having coach Lombard there and learning from the best, to have confidence during a timeout to say something or even halftime. I have all of that to thank from my mentors during my time at Wall.”
Schlicke helped the Wall Lady Hawks (32-2) back to the state tournament for a third year under Lombard, where they eventually fell to Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill in the semifinals.
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