Prairie Ridge football coach Chris Schremp’s last 16 months were about as good as it gets.
The Wolves won the 2016 Class 6A state championship with a 14-0 record, then followed that by doing it again this season, culminating in a 28-21 victory over Nazareth. On top of that, Schremp was selected the IHSA Football Coach of the Year for the 2016-17 school year and will go against winners from other states for a similar award from the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Schremp, who is 134-50 in 16 seasons as head coach, also got to enjoy the back-to-back unbeaten seasons with his daughters, Kylie and Maggie, on the sideline as team managers.
Schremp is the Northwest Herald Football Coach of the Year for the third time (he also won in 2007 and 2011), chosen by the sports staff with input from area coaches.
Northwest Herald senior sports writer Joe Stevenson knows “Bubba Gump Shrimp” was a household name in “Forrest Gump,” but Chris Schremp is one in McHenry County. He asks Schremp about his favorite kind of shrimp, among other things.
If you could go anywhere, any level, what team would you coach?
Schremp: I really enjoy the staff I am coaching with here at PR right now. We all have so much fun coaching together, so anywhere I would dream of going I would want my staff there with me. Since I am a Chicagoan who grew up in the ’80s, coaching the Bears in 1985 would have been a real treat. Although running the option with Jim McMahon wouldn’t have worked, but we would make Walter Payton the QB, Matt Suhey the fullback and we would have been set. Coaching all that talent and having so many characters – that would have been a memorable experience.
After another 14-week season, what do you look forward to doing with more free time?
Schremp: I now get to spend some time with a different group of athletes, and I am really looking forward to it. I help coach my daughters’ travel softball team in the Crush Tidal Waves organization, and I love working with the softball girls. My daughters are on a team with some wonderful young women (18 and under), and I really enjoy coaching those girls. I enjoy coaching in general, and it’s a different style of coaching than coaching football, so I enjoy the change but still like the competition and working with the players. I’ll also spend time studying some new things we can do with our option offense. We won’t have an athlete like Samson Evans probably ever again, so we will have fun coming up with some new things our up-and-coming players can do and excel at.
Who was the biggest influence on you as a coach?
Schremp: By far coach Bill Mack has had the biggest influence on me and our program. He taught me so much when he was on my staff. He taught me about the triple-option, but he also showed me how to structure a practice in order to get the most out of our time with the kids. Bill is an outstanding person, and I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without him being my mentor when I was a young coach. I could write a book on all the things Bill Mack and (former Buffalo Grove coach) Grant Blaney taught me while they were assistants with us here at PR. I owe a lot to those two coaches.
Who is the most famous person in your cellphone?
Schremp: I have a lot of college coaches in my contacts, mostly Big Ten guys. I don’t want to name any names, they get really competitive. I have a feeling some of our recent players will be famous someday, so I keep all my former players in my contact list, too.
Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. What is your favorite kind of shrimp?
Schremp: I actually have a few – Sheri, Kylie and Maggie. You said “Schremp,” right? Believe it or not, I don’t like shrimp at all! I love the movie “Forrest Gump,” but not Bubba Gump Shrimp. Sorry to spoil your joke, Joe.
Do you see a day, way down the road, when people call you up and pick your brain about running the triple-option?
Schremp: That is happening already. I received several calls from schools down in southern Illinois and in Iowa after we beat Sacred Heart-Griffin last year for the 6A state title. Being on TV, people think we really know what we are doing, so this year I have already had four or five schools ask to come in and talk to our staff.
If you were to have a sandwich named in your honor, what would be on it, and what would it be called?
Schremp: It would be call “The Schremp (not shrimp) Sub.” It would have turkey and ham on it, with mayo, honey mustard, onion and lettuce … no trace of shrimp at all.
What went through your mind when you saw Drew Norton pick off that last pass to seal the win against Nazareth?
Schremp: The whole season kind of flashed before my eyes, and then I just thought, “Thank God!” we did it. I felt a lot of pressure to win with this group, so I was glad we were able to finish with a championship. Defensive coordinator Andy Petersen was next to me, and I immediately hugged him, and then I found my family who was on the sidelines with me and hugged them. It was a moment that I will never forget. My daughters are managers, and my oldest daughter, Kylie, is a senior, and to have that be her last game on the sidelines with me was special.
Which one of your players does the best impersonation of you?
Schremp: It is a former player that is probably the best, Dereck Pearson. He dressed up as me one day at school, and it was really funny. We have that similar lineman build.