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Cory Schwartz: passing the torch

A lot has changed over the course of 34 years: presidents have come and gone, music stars have slowly faded out and the technology has changed rapidly. However, one man’s longevity has bucked the trend of an ever changing world, that man in Cory Schwartz.

Schwartz is the current ski coordinator and head coach of the Nordic ski team at the University of New Hampshire. Over his 34-year career, one of the longest active careers to date, the ski team has accomplished a great deal of accolades.

He has led the Wildcats to 24 top-10 NCAA placements, with the highest placement being seventh in 1984 and 1985. He has coached 45 All-American student-athletes. He has been named the Coach of the Year by the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association five times.

The resume speaks for itself. However, with all the accolades that he and the skiers have produced over the years, he is very modest about his accomplishments, and believes he is paving the way for coaches and athletes preceding him.

“Even though I have been here for 34 years, when I leave, there is still going to be a UNH ski team,” Schwartz said. “The UNH ski team is not just me. For right now I am just carrying the torch.”

That statement reflects Schwartz as a person and as a coach. He is humble and selfless and that translates into his coaching. He tries to nourish a team atmosphere and makes a considerable effort to teach his skiers the history of UNH skiing. Each plays a crucial role in his longevity, but it’s his coaching style and philosophy that resonates with his staff and his players.

“Our first goal is to develop that atmosphere of a team even though we are an individual sport,” Schwartz said. “My style is that of a hands-on type of coach. No matter if you’re number one on the team or you’re the last person on the team, we’re going to put everything into you and you are going to put everything into the team,” he said.

This type of approach seems to trickle down into the assistant coaches and the players as they buy into what Schwartz is trying to do. Stephen Monsulick has been the assistant coach for the UNH Nordic ski team for eight years. He agrees that Schwartz fosters a team atmosphere and that it creates a healthy and fun environment.

“He is not the type of guy that will call you out in front of the team,” Monsulik said. “If you mess up, he’ll pull you aside respectfully and tell you what you need to do in a way that makes you understand what he is trying to do.”

Raleigh Goessling, a senior Nordic skier from Esko, Minnesota, echoes that same feeling about how Schwartz handles his athletes.

“[Schwartz], I would say, more than any other coach that I have worked with, goes out of his way to create a great atmosphere and that’s huge,” Goessling said “When you’re under stress, it’s great to have teammates and coaches who reinforce that support.”

Schwartz understands the difficulties that can come with being a student-athlete at UNH. He knows when to push, but also knows when to ease off at certain points in the season. His experience as a former UNH student-athlete gives him an opportunity to relate to his athletes more in that regard.

More than anything, whether it’s his coaching style, his accolades or his love for smoking meats, according to Monsulick, the greatest achievement Schwartz feels is what his athletes accomplish after they leave UNH. That is why he set up the type of environment he currently has.

“Sometimes it’s not just about the results or them getting results,” Schwartz said. “For me, it about what they do and how they develop.”

He pointed to a picture of Patrick Weaver, a UNH alumnus and former skier for Schwartz.   Weaver skied in the Olympics and is now a coach at the University of Vermont, illustrating his point that he is proud of the success of his athletes beyond UNH.

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