Ben Schreiber’s future vision for the Ohio State spirit program is simple: Head back to square one and move on together in support of the Buckeyes.
“My vision for the program is just to start from the ground up,” OSU’s new spirit squad coach said in an interview with The Lantern Tuesday, a day after he was named for the job. “There’s been a lot of talented coaches that have been there previous to me now, and I just want to get to know the individual athletes as we have tryouts this weekend.”
Schreiber — who is set to be the next permanent head coach after former cheerleading coach Lenee Buchman was fired Nov. 25 “for cause” after a sexual harassment probe involving former assistant coaches and athletes — is slated to return to his alma mater, where he cheered at OSU from 2004-07. He spent the past five years as the head cheer coach and fitness coordinator at the University of Delaware.
“It was definitely bittersweet leaving Delaware, it’s such a very talented program,” Schreiber said. “But I just felt like this was an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass up.”
Under Schreiber’s leadership, the Blue Hens secured the 2014 Universal Cheerleaders Association Division I Large Coed National Championship, after the team finished as runners-up each year from 2010-13.
“Ben has all the qualities we were looking for in our next head coach,” said Martin Jarmond, OSU executive associate athletics director for administration and the cheer program’s administrator, in an OSU press release Monday. “His experience and success as a head coach and his passion for Ohio State and developing student-athletes holistically make him a perfect fit to lead our spirit program.”
Schreiber said he believes his success at Delaware makes him the right man to lead the Buckeyes spirit squad.
“I do think I’m the right man for the program, for the fact of my résumé, being already a Division I collegiate coach for five years, winning a national championship and being very close to other years on the competitive side,” Schreiber said.
Schreiber — who is set to earn $43,000 in base salary, just three dollars shy of what Buchman was set to earn after receiving a 1 percent raise last year — said he did not know many of the details regarding the sexual harassment investigation that led to the firings of Buchman and former assistant coaches Dana Bumbrey and Eddie Hollins. He said all that’s on his mind is what’s next.
“I don’t know all the details that happened in the past with the coaching staff and the teams,” Schreiber said. “I’m just really kind of excited to come into town, put my stamp on the program and kind of move forward from all the issues that happened in the past.”
Schreiber is set to take over for interim coach Steve Chorba, who took over for Buchman the day she was fired in November.
After the announcement of Schreiber’s hiring, OSU athletic spokesman Adam Widman told The Lantern in a Monday email that “no staff decisions have been made at this point,” including whether Chorba will be retained by the university. Schreiber — who said he applied for the open position instead of being approached by OSU about it — echoed that statement Tuesday and said he doesn’t officially start working for OSU until Wednesday.
“I have my first meetings and things (Wednesday) morning, so I’m not really aware of anything that’s going on,” Schreiber said. “I do know that a search is underway for an assistant coach … but I don’t know any of the plans regarding the interim coach or there’s no official assistant at this time.”
Buchman was fired after she was found to have had “several serious lapses of judgment and leadership” by OSU Director of Athletics and Vice President Gene Smith while she was coach of the squad, according to an email obtained by The Lantern.
Bumbrey and Hollins were terminated in May following an OSU investigation, which found “sufficient evidence” both had violated the school’s Sexual Harassment Policy. That policy defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances” and “requests for sexual favors,” among other things.
Schreiber said he wants to make sure new recruits and members of the team are “buying into the idea and the philosophies” he looks to establish with the spirit program. Getting everyone to do that is key to getting the program back to where it should be, Schreiber said.
“One of my main philosophies is I want to be the best, and I want the athletes in the program to be the best,” Schreiber said. “So we’re always going to be striving to get better. One practice at a time, one stunt at a time, one game at a time. We’re always going to be seeking for self-improvement to grow as individuals, to grow as a program.”
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