"Incredible human being" - Longtime coach, Cibola AD Schroer dies at age 75 - Albuquerque Journal

“Incredible human being” — Longtime coach, Cibola AD Schroer dies at age 75

Phil Schroer was remembered Wednesday as a man who loved his family, who loved his Indiana Hoosiers, and who was a staunch supporter of high school athletes and coaches in New Mexico.

Schroer died unexpectedly on Tuesday afternoon. He was 75. He was to celebrate his 76th birthday Saturday.

“My dad was an extremely humble man,” said Shonn Schroer, Phil’s son and the head boys basketball coach and athletic director at West Mesa High. “It was hard to get him to ever talk about himself. He was humble.”

Shonn Schroer said the family was not yet sure what had caused his father’s death, but added that he seemed in good health.

Phil Schroer was a head boys basketball coach both at Las Vegas Robertson and Cibola (where he coached his son), and also a longtime AD at Cibola before he retired.

His death was cutting deep with those who knew him.

“Phil was an incredible human being,” said an emotional Lori Mabrey, Rio Rancho High’s girls basketball coach who previously coached at Cibola where Schroer hired her for her first head coaching position. “This was a huge shock.”

He also hired Ray Rodriguez to be Cibola’s boys hoops coach in 1994.

“It’s unbelievably shocking,” said Rodriguez, who no longer coaches but is still Cibola’s current AD. “He’s been like a mentor to me, and he really helped me through some tough spots. He was always that guy that was easy to talk to.”

Phil Schroer was Indiana-born and is a member of the athletic Hall of Fame at Seymour High in Indiana, which also is the hometown and alma mater of musician John Mellencamp. In 2018, Schroer was inducted into Cibola’s Athletics Hall of Fame, an entity he largely created. He also was a member of the H Club at New Mexico Highlands, where he was a dual-sport athlete (basketball and baseball).

Schroer played on Highlands’ 1967 NAIA national championship baseball team, a group that is to be honored this fall in Las Vegas. He earned his master’s degree from Indiana University.

“It’s been a tough day,” said Bruce Carver, a close friend of Schroer, Rio Rancho’s district athletic director. He once coached against Schroer when he was Raton’s basketball coach and when Schroer was at Robertson. “Phil is just one of those guys, one of those few people I know who really enjoyed other people’s successes more than his own. He was an incredibly good human being.”

Schroer coached in Indiana for 14 years before moving to Las Vegas to coach at Robertson, and several years later he left the Cardinals program to take over at Cibola from Hall of Famer Frank Castillo when Castillo left for La Cueva. Schroer He was an educator for 43 years, son Shonn said.

“He felt teaching and coaching was the most honorable profession you could be in,” Rodriguez said. “He held the profession in the highest esteem.”

Schroer was known as a gregarious, extremely friendly and giving man, as the many tributes that were posted on social media reflected.

“A great family man, husband, father, grandfather. He enjoyed the daily pleasures of just being surrounded by family. He took such pride in his family. He also had a gift of always finding a great restaurant, great food and truly enjoyed his fantasy football,” Ron Warren, former APS coach and administrator, wrote in a Twitter post.

From Sandia High baseball coach Chris Eaton on Twitter: “He was my athletic director at Cibola. As I was walking the podium during graduation, Phil gave me a hug, said thank you for what the Cibola baseball program accomplished in 2006, and said if I ever needed anything to go to him. That is who Phil Schroer was to our ABQ community.”

Mabrey said one of the unknown skills Schroer possessed was being a eloquent writer. He would author a weekly newsletter at Cibola, extolling accomplishments of the school’s teams and athletes.

“It was something that really connected everyone in the school together,” she said. “And when I was a brand new coach at Cibola and we beat Rio Rancho for the first time, he put a really nice, handwritten note in my mailbox. I have several of those that I’ve kept in my scrapbook.”

Services are pending. Schroer leaves behind his wife of 53 years, Veronica, plus children Shonn, Mandee, Justin and Nick, plus grandchildren.

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