In retirement after thirty-four years of high school coaching which was
strongly influenced by his high school coach A.L. Trout, Schnake wrote a book entitled “Trout - The Old Man and
the Orphans”. Published in 1992, this book is a story of the glory days of basketball and football under Coach Trout
at Centralia (Township) High School. It tells of the great influence the coach had on players,
students, fans and the town in general. Schnake has also written a poem entitled “Ode To The House
Of Trout” which is a rendering of how Trout Gym is remembered by himself as well as the many fans
who were privileged to witness games played at the fabled old building.
Schnake played football and basketball under A.L. Trout at CTHS graduating in 1946. As a two year
starter in football he played on teams that were (3-6) 1944 and (7-2-1 South Seven champs) 1945.
While starting three years in basketball he played for teams that were (6-24) 1944, (24-13) 1945,
and (30-10 second in state) 1946. After a tour of duty with the U.S. Marines 1946 through 1948, he
attended Bradley University where he was a member of the 1949-50 basketball team that was rated
#1 in the nation for most of the season. This team finished as
runner-up in both the NIT and NCAA tournaments for the season and is enshrined in the Bradley/Peoria Hall of
Schnake began his high school coaching with three-year stints at both Charleston (1952-53 and
1954-55) and Aledo (1955-56 through 1957-58) after which he became head football and basketball
coach at Vandalia in 1958-59 and remained there through 1965-66. His 1963 football team captured
the Mid-State Conference title and was 9-0 on
the season. While at Vandalia, he was also athletic
director for seven years and was track coach and baseball coach
each one season.
In 1966-67 Schnake moved to Elk Grove High School as an assistant in basketball and football and
became head football coach in 1968. His football teams were Mid-Suburban League champions in
1971 and 1972 with the ‘72 team being voted the best high school football team in Illinois by the
media. He had state quarterfinal playoff teams
in 1976, ‘77, ‘79, and made it to the semi-finals in
1981. After his retirement in 1987, Schnake was inducted into the
Illinois High School Football Coaches’ Hall of Fame.
Two other books written by Schnake include “COACHING 101: Guiding the High School Athlete and
Building Team Success” 1996, and “FOOTBALL’S SIMPLE SIX: Building an Aggressive, Efficient, and
Explosive High School Offense” 2000. His “Trout” book received the Illinois State Historical Society
Award of Excellence.