From Squire To Co-Owner Of The Hanover Rhinos, It’s Been Quite A Ride For Noah Sneeringer
With the retirement of Hanover Rhinos’ co-owner Adam Bostian following the spring 2017 season, big shoes were left to fill in Snacktown’s front office this offseason.
The position didn’t take long to fill.
In the moments following the Rhinos’ season ending 43-18 loss to the Franklin County Tigers, Bostian sat down with head coach Noah Sneeringer under a tent on the Hanover sideline, and handed him the keys to the kingdom.
Recently, Rhino Charge host George Marinos caught up with Sneeringer to discuss life as a head coach/owner/head of football operations, and what it took to get him to where he is today.
GM: I’m here with Noah Sneeringer, new co-owner of the Hanover Rhinos, and still head coach as well. Talk about your meteoric rise from Delone Catholic Squire to the leader of the Charge in 8 short years?
NS: I’m definitely grateful to be in this situation. Opportunities like this don’t come around often. I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by many supportive people in my life. From playing to coaching and now owning. I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time. And I’m excited to continue to learn and develop in the sports industry.
GM: How do your first few months of ownership compare to your time as a player and a coach?
NS: To be honest, I haven’t really dove into the ownership role yet in a hands-on aspect. Chris Bunty handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff and is the main reason the Hanover Rhinos are where we’re at as an organization. He involves me in everything he’s been doing, so I’m kind of easing into it. Once we get closer to the season, my role will certainly increase.
GM: What has Chris meant to this process for you?
NS: Chris has been a huge mentor. I’ve asked him many questions about what goes on behind the scenes and what he deals with. Chris is constantly working on sponsorships and fundraising to keep this organization flowing smoothly. The Rhinos wouldn’t be around without his dedication and hard work. I really look forward to learning and working with Chris.
GM: What responsibilities are you going to have as a co-owner?
NS: Attending league meetings and being a part of league votes is one thing. Which I got to be apart of the first league meeting for the 2018 season. I’ll be talking care of the football side of the operation mainly. I’ll also be helping Chris on the business side as much as I can.
GM: Give our readers a little insight into what the league meetings are like.
NS: I was honestly caught a little off-guard. I expected some tension when you put a bunch of competitive owners in a room together, but it was the complete opposite. We all have a common goal, and that’s to run a successful league and help each other out. The AFA has a great group of owners and some great guys to build a relationship with.
GM: Are there finger sandwiches and cookies at these meetings?
NS: Unfortunately not. (Chuckles). They did have coffee and water for us though.
GM: How is semi-pro different than your experience with Delone Catholic high school, or even college?
NS: There are many differences between the three levels. In high school, you have a set schedule, practice and class-wise. It allows you to get into a routine. College you have meetings, lifting, and your class schedule varies on top of more travel. You have to find what works for you personally. At the semi-pro level, the preparation time is limited. You’re squeezing 5 practices into one or two, if you’re lucky. Film and information on opposing teams are difficult to come by. On top of all of that, we all have family, work and other obligations we’re working around. At the end of the day, no matter what level it is, the game itself doesn’t change and that’s the best part.
GM: In semi-pro football, you have 60 roster spots to fill. What word or words best describe what you go through to fill out the roster?
NS: Don’t believe it until I see it. We’d be making cuts if all the guys came out that said they were. That’s a big tribute to the guys on our roster now. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
GM: What’s the most challenging part about getting 60 players for a small-town team?
NS: To fill the roster with just local guys is very tough, especially from a small area. We have built a strong name for ourselves and we’re bringing a lot of guys from outside our area in. We have guys traveling an hour-and-a-half to practice. That’s dedication and that reflects what previous and current owners have done to give our organization such a great reputation in semi-pro football.
GM: Adam Bostian was well-known as the face of the Rhinos to many players in the mid-Atlantic region. What is your message to potential Rhinos who see that Adam is no longer a part of the team?
NS: Adam has left behind a great legacy as a player, coach and owner. He’s well respected around the league. I personally need to pick up where he left off. The guys understand why he stepped away, and know they also need to continue the legacy he created while being apart of the Rhinos. I’m sure Adam will make a sighting or two in the upcoming season.
GM: Be honest. When you were at Kutztown University, did you ever imagine you’d be co-owner of a well-established semi-pro football team?
NS: Absolutely not. I was unaware of how large the semi-pro universe was. My goal in life was always to coach college ball and that still remains my goal. Gaining this experience at such a young age is very beneficial in many ways as I continue to grow in the sports industry.
GM: What’s your college dream job?
NS: Being a lifetime Notre Dame fan, that would obviously be my first choice. The list of great coaches that university has seen is unbelievable, but then, another part of me has always wanted to create my own legacy at a North Texas or a Florida International, schools that have a great talent pool to pick from in-state, and build a powerhouse instead of inherit one.
GM: What’s the most random team you’ve started an NCAA video game franchise with?
NS: I was a sucker for the Idaho Vandals. They rock the black and gold. I loved getting the Kibbie Dome on the toughest places to play list.
GM: Ever win a national title with them?
NS: Of course. On Heisman difficulty, too. There was an achievement to win three national championships in a row.
GM: When you were at Kutztown, did you take any sports management classes, or anything else that prepared you for your role?
NS: Yeah. I majored in sport management with a focus in coaching and athletic administration. So I took many classes that have definitely helped me in my role. But nothing prepares you like the real thing.
GM: Let’s talk about life off the field a little bit. Over the past few years, you’ve had to travel out of state frequently for your other job. How hectic has your schedule been?
NS: It’s been crazy. I’m all over for work, Baltimore one day, DC the next, New Jersey for a few days. Trying to keep in touch with guys and keeping up on the latest offensive and defensive trends is tough. It’s not easy to balance work, family and coaching. It takes self-discipline to be able find time for each one.
GM: Speaking of family, you got married this summer. That’s definitely a big moment in anyone’s life.
NS: Absolutely, it was definitely a day to remember. We had a small ceremony at my parents’ farm. Neither of us needed the big, fancy wedding. We kept it small, family and close friends.
GM: And then, since it was gameday for the Rhinos in Baltimore, you tuned in to Rhino Charge TV to hear yours truly on the call at 7 that night, correct?
NS: I did check into the game periodically. I unfortunately couldn’t watch from start to finish.
GM: How has you guys’ life changed since exchanging vows this summer?
NS: Honestly, nothing has changed too much. We bought our house last year, so we were already living together for awhile. I’d say the biggest change since the wedding would be getting our third dog.
GM: Tell me about your dogs.
NS: My wife is an absolute dog-lover. We’ve rescued all three of our dogs. We have two coonhounds and one mix between a coon and shepherd. They’re basically sub-in children for us.
GM: If you have kids some day, do you envision them being involved with the Rhinos?
NS: I can’t predict the future. I’d hope if I have a son, he pursues sports, and if I’m still in the area, I’d love for him to be a part of the organization.
GM: What’s been the highlight of your time as a Rhinos’ coach so far?
NS: I don’t know if I can really pinpoint a specific highlight. It’s been kind of a roller-coaster ride up to this point. I’m enjoying the process. My first year, we had multiple coaching changes. We could never find a rhythm, and last year, we had a lot of personnel changes and never truly found our mojo. We’ve ridden the ups and downs. It’s more like a movie instead of a highlight-reel.
GM: How about that first year, when the 15-20 guys that remained with the team through the end of the year snapped the 7-game losing streak, and all the young guys kept grabbing whatever coolers they could find and dumping them on you to celebrate the win?
NS: That was probably the best moment with the team. But like you said, it was after a losing streak, it wasn’t like we won the division or championship. But those 15-20 guys were the heartbeat of the team. Those are the guys that bought into the system, those guys are the ones you can turn to when adversity hits.
GM: As co-owner, you’ve gotten to see the behind-the-scenes stuff Chris Bunty does to promote the team and get the Rhinos involved in the community. What would you like to do to get the word out in the community that we have a football team in our town?
NS: That’s a great question. We live in a football area, so it’d be great to get more of the community out to our games. We’ve done a great job promoting through social media. I’d love to get back into the local newspaper (you might know a guy). I think the Rhinos are like any sports team. Winning is the best way to get the word out.
GM: What excites you most about the promotional and community-active process?
NS: Our Rhino Charge is probably my favorite promotional item. Getting our guys some spotlight. We have great athletes on our team. A lot were former high school stars. So to be able to get them recognized for their success on the field in semi-pro is awesome.
GM: Well, we at Rhino Charge appreciate that sentiment. As we wrap this up, do you have any words of advice for kids growing up that want to get into sports management?
NS: Don’t be afraid to go after your goals. Don’t let anyone tell you going to school for sport management is a waste. If you truly have a passion for sports, that’s the field you want to be in. There’s opportunities all over the country. It’s a growing industry for sure.
GM: Thanks for your time.
Remember fans, you can catch a new feature interview every month on Rhino Charge. Don’t forget to check back often to keep up to date on all the news and notes for Hanover’s hometown team.