Belleville West celebrates first state title win
Alex Schobert has been around the Belleville West basketball program for just about as long as long as he can remember.
A native of Belleville, Schobert wore a Maroons uniform for four years, averaging about 10 points his final two seasons before graduating in 2008. Four years later, Schobert retuned to the Maroons program and, since 2012, has spent time coaching the Maroons freshman and junior varsity teams while also working as an assistant for longtime Maroons coach Joe Muniz.
On Monday, Schobert, 29, was hired as the new head varsity basketball coach at West.
“I am excited and very grateful for this opportunity. The Belleville West basketball program means a great deal to me,’’ Schobert said. “I had a basketball career here as a player and, as I told everyone involved in this process, I’m not the person I am today without the influence of the Belleville West basketball program. ...
“I’ve put my heart and soul into this program during the past seven years and so I’m just very excited.’’
Schobert replaces Joe Muniz, who resigned earlier this month to become West’s assistant athletic director. Muniz posted a 244-177 record in his 15 seasons and led the Maroons to consecutive IHSA Class 4A championships in 2018 and 2019. Led by two-time Illinos Mr. Basketball EJ Liddell, the Maroons finished 34-4 this past season, beating Evanston 71-58 in the Class 4A state title game in Peoria in March.
After graduating from West, Schobert played basketball at Knox College in Galesburg. He said he doesn’t feel pressure in taking over at his alma mater.
“Obviously we have have a tremendous program here and we’ve had great success here winning two straight state championships, but I’m really not feeling any pressure,’’ Schobert said. “I couldn’t ask for better support from our administration and athletic department.
“It’s not all about wins and losses. Its’ about helping our student-athletes become great young people and successful in life.’’
Schobert spent one year as freshman coach, four years as the sophomore coach and the last two years coaching the Maroons junior-varsity team.
“I’ve had tremendous role models in Coach Muniz and Roger (Mueller) and I feel like having the opportunity to coach at all levels has helped me prepare for this opportunity here at Belleville West,’’ Schobert said. “Obviously, you don’t replace an EJ Liddell, Lawrence Brazil, Keith Randolph and everybody who is graduating and played such a huge part of the success of this program the past few years.
“But we have a very talented group of players returning., juniors who are going to be seniors, and we had a very talented sophomore group as well. We don’t have a lot of size coming back but we do have good athletes who I know will work hard. I think we can be competitive each night.’’
West athletic director Lee Meyer said Schobert will do a good jobin taking over the Maroons program.
“Alex was a big part of he Belleville West basketball program as a player and a big part of the success of this basketball program as an assistant coach for the past seven years,’’ Meyer said. “We are excited to have him as our new basketball coach.’’