Dale Schuring and his wife, Val Cornwell, have a reciprocal agreement. They help each other.
They are part of the same family team, even though it’s usually the exact same sports team.
As veteran coaches at Arthur High School, they’ve had to adjust their own schedules when conflicts arise. Sometimes the reciprocal agreement includes their squads.
“We’re part of a well-oiled machine,” Cornwell said.
The busiest time has been the fall, when
Dale coaches football and Val handles the volleyball team. When their children, Justin (a 2011 graduate) and Tyler (a current junior), were infants, Mom would take the kids with her to practice, sometimes in their strollers and adorned in a school outfit.
“The injured kids (from the football or volleyball teams) would take care of them,” she said. “It’s neat when you don’t have to worry about the kids. They say it takes a community to raise a child.
“When the van would pull up (at practice), the (football) boys who were injured would immediately head over and grab up the kids. I had no worries. I knew they were well cared for.”
As for meals, the family would plan the menu in advance and, Cornwell said, “Whoever got home first would start on that.”
The family’s schedule won’t be quite as hectic in the future. When the school year ends, Cornwell is retiring after 34 years of teaching and coaching, all at Arthur. The first five, she went from volleyball season to basketball to track. For the next 12, she coached volleyball and track.
Next fall, when son Tyler is a senior, she’ll try life as a fan in the stands.
“It will be neat to do some booster-club stuff,” she said.
Continuing to coach was never part of the equation for the Martinsville native.
“Ever since I started teaching, you retire
at 55,” said Cornwell, who will celebrate her 55th birthday next week. “That’s how I approached it. I never thought about staying on.”
Schuring grew up near Elgin and graduated from Burlington Central High School. He started his teaching career at Arthur as a midyear replacement in January 1988.
“My original thought was, ‘If I like it, I’ll stay, and if I don’t, I’ll find another job,’ ” Schuring said.
He was raised in a rural, small-school environment and found Arthur to his liking. He is completing his 26th year coaching. He worked his way up the ranks, volunteering in football before he became a paid assistant and eventually the head coach.
His first basketball job was as an assistant to Travis Wilson, and he added girls’ track after his wife stopped coaching the sport.
Sure, it has been a hectic life, Schuring said, but “if it’s all you’ve ever done, you don’t know any different. There are days I say, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But I’m sure people say that in any job.”
The family has helped change the athletic fortunes at Arthur, which for a time had a co-op in some sports with Lovington but now has Lovington in district as part of a consolidation. The high school has an enrollment of 184.
Schuring has directed the football program to seven of its 10 playoff berths, and with a 71-43 career record, he’s the winningest football coach in school history.
He hit the 200-win mark this season in boys’ basketball with his 13th victory (coaching a squad ranked sixth in Class 1A) and has more than 330 victories in the sport when his eight years with the girls’ team are figured in.
Cornwell earned her 400th volleyball victory in 2011 and will retire as one of the state’s top 50 winningest coaches in the sport.
The successes on the field or court aren’t what have created the fondest memories for the coaches.
“Most gratifying is when the kids come back and tell you the stories they remember, how you’ve made a difference in their lives,” Schuring said. “It’s the relationships.”
For Schuring and Cornwell, their relationship is a partnership that has resulted in nearly 900 victories on the scoreboard and a lifetime of memories for their athletes as well as themselves.