Double play: Schafer takes over Hubert’s basketball team

Dave Schafer, the softball team coach since 2006, will also coach basketball while running the softball program.

Dave Schafer, who has coached the St. Hubert High School softball team since 2006, was recently named the school’s basketball coach. TIMES FILE PHOTO

When the administration at St. Hubert High School went looking for a new girls basketball coach, they wanted to make sure the new coach did a few things.

First, they wanted someone to teach the players to be better, on and off the court.

They wanted to find a coach who knew the game, and more importantly knew how to teach the players to represent the school when they’re playing and in everything they do.

They wanted a coach who could win, but more importantly, a coach who could teach.

They looked hard, but they didn’t have to look far, and after an extensive search, they found their man in the school.

Dave Schafer, who has coached the softball team since 2006, was named the basketball coach, too. He’ll continue to run the softball program.

“I wanted to coach because if you know the school, you just have to love the girls here,” said Schafer, who takes over a team that went 8–14 while playing in a tough Catholic League last year under coach Katie Linder. “They are so competitive. They want to succeed. They are like that in the classroom, they are like that in softball, they are like that in everything they do. It’s the kind of place you want to be.”

Schafer has been quite successful coaching softball at Hubert. Since he took over, the Bambies have claimed four Catholic League championships and six District 12 (City) championships.

But prior to arriving at Hubert, he enjoyed success coaching both the boys at Bishop Egan and girls team at Bishop Conwell, where his girls teams won two Northern Division championships.

And while he loves Hubert, he had no intentions of leaving Conwell.

“I was there from 1977 to 1993, so when I found out Conwell was closing, I was shocked,” Schafer said. “I wasn’t unhappy I was going to Hubert’s, I just was shocked that a place I loved so much wasn’t going to be there anymore. I was invited to re-apply for the coaching jobs, but I decided not to.”

Instead, he went to Hubert, and while it wasn’t in his plans, it’s worked out great.

Since he arrived at the school, where he also teaches psychology and American history, he couldn’t be happier.

“I love the school, and I love that I’m getting to take on the challenge,” said Schafer, who lives in Langhorne. “I’ve coached basketball a lot. I coached boys (at Egan) and girls at Conwell, my brother was the head coach at Conwell-Egan and I helped him out before I started coaching softball (at Hubert) and I did some coaching in AAU and CYO when my daughters were younger.

“I know it’s a great school and I wanted the challenge. I wanted to help rebuild the program. It’s a great school and the kids are great. It’s a place you want to be. I think it helps that I’m in the building. The kids know me and I know what great kids they are.”

The school is just as happy to have him.

Not only are they happy about what he brings to the table as a winner, they’re happier about what he brings to the table as an educator.

“Dave exhibited not only great experience as a coach, but he’s the type of coach that will build a team and build up his players,” said St. Hubert President Lizanne Pando. “He teaches girls to be part of a team, to work together and to remember that together you can get to your goal.

“His strength is in teaching and is one of those teachers who truly cares about his players, and he teaches the psychology of working as a team.”

He knows building a winner will be a challenge.

Hubert has great athletes, which is why they’re competitive in just about every sport there is, but basketball in the Catholic League is a different animal.

While there is no longer divisions, teams from the old Southern Division have traditionally ruled basketball, with Neumann-Goretti, Cardinal O’Hara and Archbishop Carroll always producing great teams. Archbishop Wood, which was in the Northern Division, is also now a powerhouse, meaning there are many tough opponents awaiting the Bambies.

Schafer knows that winning won’t happen overnight, but he’s ready for the challenge.

“I want to build a, I don’t want to say culture of winning because that’s what every professional team says nowadays, but I want everyone to know that they can win,” Schafer said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but a challenge I’m looking forward to. I think we’ll have fun.”

No matter how well his team plays, he’ll have his share of fans.

His wife, Jodi, his daughters Natalie and Dana, and his five grandchildren will always be happy watching him, win or lose.

But the grandkids will probably be a little happier when the Bambies start racking up the victories.

“When I was coaching at Conwell, my daughters were always around,” Schafer said. “Now it will be the grandchildren. They love sports.

“My wife is retired, but she was a teacher, too. She knows how important it is. She’s very supportive. I’m just looking forward to getting started.”