Former Prairie Ridge football coach Chris Schremp will be school’s next athletic director

Prairie Ridge Head Coach Chris Schremp leads the Wolves against Jacobs in varsity football at Crystal Lake Friday night. Prairie Ridge won 6-0.

As a high school student at Westchester St. Joseph, Chris Schremp used to watch how the school’s athletic director George Strnad was constantly helping people, and a seed was planted.

“You saw (Strnad) around the school, and you just knew he was the guy in charge and was doing things for athletics and helping out all the coaches,” Schremp said. “Everybody respected him so much. I saw how much he was respected by the people in school.

“I’ve known this has been a path that I wanted to be on for a while. That was always something I had in the back of my mind. It would be a good way to finish up your career, doing that.”

Schremp will now have that opportunity. After retiring as Prairie Ridge’s football coach, Schremp has been hired as the Wolves’ athletic director. He will take over for retiring AD Mark Gilbert this summer. Schremp has worked with Gilbert as an assistant AD during Gilbert’s 11 years as AD.

Prairie Ridge won the Fox Valley Conference title and finished 9-1 this football season, losing to eventual state champion Nazareth in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. Schremp finished his career with a 187-64 record (a .745 winning percentage) and three Class 6A state championships (2011, 2016 and 2017).

Schremp was an assistant under former coach Dave Whitson for the first five years of Prairie Ridge. When Whitson left, Schremp took over as head coach and also became a history and driver education teacher at the high school.

Prairie Ridge’s Head Coach Chris Schremp consults with his quarterback Joey Vanderwiel against Nazareth in first-round Class 5A playoff football action at Crystal Lake Saturday.

District 155 could not find someone more well-versed in Prairie Ridge history than Schremp.

“I think of it now as the athletic director is coaching the coaches,” Schremp said. “Everybody asks, ‘How do you give up coaching?’ I say, ‘Well, I’ll be helping out the coaches just like I helped out the kids.’ I have a lot of knowledge I can pass on. Coaching is coaching, no matter what sport. I think I can help out almost any coach we have here.”

Schremp will become the school’s fourth AD in its 27 years, following Bill Murphy, Patti Hie and Gilbert.

“It’s fun to know the history and being so close to Bill Murphy, our first AD, and he talked to me about the designs of the building and why something was put here and not there,” Schremp said. “That kind of a background is interesting and fun.”

Prairie Ridge's head coach Chris Schremp talks to his players during their IHSA Class 6A state championship game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

Schremp also will be the head of buildings and grounds. He will spend a lot more time this semester with Gilbert as he prepares to take over the job.

“Mark’s doing a great job helping me know what to expect and letting me know as we go along,” Schremp said. “Being an assistant as long as I have really helps. Being the football coach and knowing the ins and outs of how things work in our district is going to be valuable in the future.”

One of Schremp’s first jobs will be helping hire his successor as football coach. He will head the committee and said the process is just starting. He said Prairie Ridge hopes to have its third football coach in school history in place within the next month.