City sports fixture Bernard “Bernie” Schneider passes at 82

Former Riordan and USF basketball player left a deep sports legacy in San Francisco

Bernie Schneider as a Riordan basketball player. Year unknown. (Courtesy / Schneider Family)

Bernard “Bernie” Schneider, an Archbishop Riordan and University of San Francisco alumnus who became a San Francisco sports fixture over the course of his life, passed away on Saturday at the age of 82, following a long battle with cancer.

Born in Omaha, Neb. on June 27, 1937, Schneider and his family moved to San Francisco in 1938. He graduated from Riordan in 1955 and USF in 1959, playing basketball, baseball and golf at Riordan and playing basketball for the Dons in the years immediately after Bill Russell led San Francisco to back-to-back national titles.

The patriarch of a very athletic family, all eight of his children were involved in sports at the high school and collegiate levels, with many continuing their father’s legacy in sports and education.

Bernie coached at Marin Catholic, Redwood and Tamalpais for 25 years while serving as a faculty member. His interest in sports and education led him to create a Sports in Literature class and, following his retirement, led him to write and publish a book chronicling the history of Bay Area college basketball, “Glory and Heartbreak.”

His son Patrick played basketball at St. Ignatius and has served as the head coach at Bellarmine for 28 years while working in the school’s Religious Studies department, while Kevin, another of his three sons, joined Bernie to become the only father-son duo in Riordan’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Kevin continues to coach baseball in and around San Francisco.

Bernie was a regular fixture at games Patrick coached, seldom missing a game when the Bells made trips to San Francisco. In his later years, if he wasn’t at one of Bellarmine’s games, he was scouting the Bells’ next opponent, always using an index card to take notes, with a separate card for each quarter, and handing them to Patrick following games — a favor for which he was often repaid in golf balls.

His network of friends and family extends throughout the Bay Area, including a close bond with legendary St. Ignatius basketball coach Bob Drucker. Drucker, who coached Patrick at St. Ignatius, was a longtime friend and golfing buddy of Bernie’s, and reunited with Patrick to play the Fleming course at Harding Park this week in Bernie’s honor.

A 10 a.m. viewing and 11 a.m. funeral mass will be held on Friday at St. Ignatius Church on USF’s campus. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to be made to Riordan in honor of the Class of ‘55 Scholarship Fund or to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

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