Jan. 30, 2014
By Tony Phifer
Brian Schneider was so loose and relaxed prior to the Jan. 19 NFC Championship game that he invited his four children onto the playing surface at CenturyLink Field, where they tossed a football and had their picture taken with Seattle music sensation Macklemore.
"I trust my players and their preparation, and I trust my preparation as well," Schneider said. "When you have that trust you can just let them go out and play."
Schneider, a former star linebacker and assistant coach at CSU, is the special teams coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. Sunday, in his 20th year in coaching, he will get his first chance to coach in the Super Bowl when the Seahawks face the Denver Broncos.
"Without a doubt, this is a dream come true for me," he said. "This is a game where you get to see how you measure up against the very best. I'm really excited."
At the same time, Schneider said he's not overly nervous about the game. The Seahawks have some of the best special teams in the NFL, and he's confident his players are well prepared for Sunday's game.
Tied to the Broncos
Still, he laughed when asked about some of the ironic twists presented by this matchup.
First, the Arvada native who was an all-Western Athletic Conference linebacker at CSU in 1993 grew up a Broncos fans - as did everyone in his family. He'll have 15 family members in attendance, all wearing Seahawks gear - he thinks.
"All of my friends and family are huge Broncos fans," he said. "I'm sure a lot of them are going to be conflicted."
Former 'teacher's pet' now his foe
Second, when he looks across the field he'll see one of his all-time favorite protégés: Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen, who was a two-time all-conference selection when Schneider was CSU's tight ends and special teams coach from 1997-2002.
"Joel has always been one of my favorite guys because he would do anything you asked," he said. "The other coaches on the staff used to tease me about Joel, saying I treated him like the teacher's pet. I probably did, but that's just because I had so much respect for him, and I'm really happy that he's been so successful in the NFL."
Great times as a Ram
As for his own CSU experience, Schneider has nothing but pleasant memories. As a player, he helped the Rams and coach Earle Bruce earn a berth in the 1990 Freedom Bowl - the school's first bowl appearance in 42 years. He graduated in 1994 with a degree in social science.
As a coach - three years as a graduate assistant and six seasons as a full assistant under Sonny Lubick - he helped the Rams to seven bowl games and six conference championships.
All-time greats for coaching mentors
"I spent 14 years there, and I loved every minute," he said, noting that three of his four children were born while he was coaching at CSU. "Both Sonny and Earle had massive influence on me. They were both very different, but both were great coaches. Pete (Seattle coach Pete Carroll) reminds me a lot of Sonny, with a lot of the same philosophies. It was a very impactful time in my life."
Like most coaches, Schneider's journey to the Super Bowl included lots of stops. He has coached at CSU, Iowa State and UCLA in the college ranks, and in Oakland and Seattle in the NFL. He has enjoyed every stop on the way.
"All I really wanted to do when I was a kid was to be like my dad and be a high school coach and teacher," he said. "I didn't get in this to get to the Super Bowl one day - I just love coaching, so I'm going to enjoy being around the players, the coaches and the game."
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