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  • Andrew Seavey

Forty years of fun and winning: St. Patrick’s Girls' Basketball Coach Al Schrauben Retires

It would not be out of the ordinary to find the walk into the gym during the winter and find the St Patrick’s Girl’s Basketball team playing a game of wiffleball or kickball.


At least not with Al Schrauben coaching.


“I always thought it was important for them to enjoy the game and to remember that it’s just a game,” Schrauben said. “I always told them that you needed to laugh and have fun.”


The longtime Shamrocks head coach known for his unique but fun practice routines recently made the decision to retire after 40-years with the program and many winning seasons.


A 2016 Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee, Schrauben wrapped up his storied career with a 729-208 record, ranking him third all-time in the MHSAA for girls' basketball coaches.


Schrauben’s journey as the St Patrick’s Girls' Basketball coach began in 1984 when he decided to take the open position, which was not receiving much interest. 


“At that time girls' basketball and football were around the same time,” Schrauben said. “I had been coaching the JV boys' basketball and I ended up taking the girl’s position because they didn’t have anybody that was interested in taking over and the program had been very good.”


Although it wasn’t what he originally expected, Schrauben relished his opportunity, forming a Class D dynasty throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. 


Under his leadership, the Shamrocks made 10 Class D championship appearances, winning the state title in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, and 2002.


“Certainly, some of our runs to the state finals were great times,” Schrauben said.


Despite the team’s success, Schrauben doesn’t take much credit for what his teams were able to accomplish in his tenure.


“You never win if you don’t have talent,” Schrauben said. “I thought that throughout the program we’ve had good talent and pretty good discipline in trying to carry out what we’ve wanted to do.”


“I’m very grateful for the talent and the effort that the girl’s would put in,” Schrauben said. “If you get accolades, it’s because you have good people that you work with, and great coaches that have helped me along, and you’ve obviously been in it a long time.”


Schrauben also recognizes the dedication it took for the many coaches at the younger levels to help develop the talent. 


“You can’t forget the people that volunteered their time at the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade level and developed them along,” Schrauben said.


Now that he’s in retirement, Schrauben has no plans to be around the Shamrock’s basketball program in the future, unless it is as a fan.


“As far as involvement with the team, it’ll just be as a spectator,” Schrauben said. “If the new coach wants my input on anything, they can ask me.”


With his coaching days behind him Schrauben is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren, fishing, and “living the easy life” during his retirement.


Schrauben takes a lot of pride in St. Patrick's basketball program and is grateful for the opportunity to be a coach.


“I’ve always been very proud of the way our girls competed and the way they handled themselves,” Schrauben said. “How they represented the school, their parents, the coaching staff, so I was very happy to be a part of the program.”

Photo by Lindsey Bos.


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