From Alabama to Georgia: The Glenn Schumann experience
ATLANTA – Glenn Schumann was a popular guy on Saturday morning. For the one hour that comprised media day for the national championship game, reporters quizzed and prodded a man who will not play on Monday night, who few had heard of two years ago, and who no one could seem to find anything about when Georgia hired him. Even Google came up relatively empty.
Was he created out of thin air by Kirby Smart? Is he a cyborg, a reporter jokingly asked?
“I’d like to think that my parents will take credit for creating me,” he said. “No, I just didn’t have any reason to be known. I just did what I was supposed to do. And I’m fortunate enough that Kirby believed in me.”
The reason reporters flocked to Schumann is that he’s among the few that knows both programs — Alabama and Georgia — inside and out. He worked at Alabama from 2008-15, beginning as an 18-year-old student and working his way up to be one of Smart’s most trusted quality control advisors. When Smart became Georgia’s coach two years ago, he hired Schumann as inside linebackers coach.
Therefore, Schumann became an irresistible potential source for the stampede of reporters looking to do Nick Saban and Kirby Smart comparisons. Such as this question: What is the main difference between working with each?
Schumann answered slowly and carefully.
“I don’t like focusing on differences,” he said. “There’s a lot of similarities in the way day-to-day business is conducted. There’s a human aspect to this profession, and Kirby’s different from Nick on a personal level. Not better or worse. And so that’s a quote-unquote difference.”
Is the work-life balance better with Smart? Again, Schumann answered carefully, and this time also knowingly.
“I enjoyed working at Alabama,” Schumann said, sensing skepticism from his questioner, who was from Tuscaloosa. “You’re smiling, but I love to work. Both people work really hard. And so if you love to work it’s a great place to be. I relate well to Nick, I relate well to Kirby. I don’t think it’s easier to relate to one or the other.”
OK, let’s fill in some of the background on Schumann, who does have a purpose in life other than being a potential Saban-Smart tell-all novelist.
He was born in Valdosta, but spent his childhood moving around. His father Eric, who played safety at Alabama in the 1970s, was a defensive coordinator at eight different places, as far west as New Mexico and as far east as Valdosta State. (Where Smart got his first full-time coaching job. So perhaps the relationship was preordained.)
Schumann’s athletic lineage doesn’t stop there: His mother, Dr. Sherry Schumann, is an administrator at Collin College in Texas. His grandfather, Jack Haskin, was a coach at Florida State and is a member of the FSU Hall of Fame.
Future Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, coming to Alabama in 2015 after years of experience in the NFL and college level, said he could “tell [Schumann] had a great understanding of the game.”
Glenn Schumann graduated high school in Texas, then enrolled at Alabama, where he began his coaching career as a student assistant. (“Doing anything that was asked of me,” he said.)
Eventually he became a graduate assistant, which allowed him to work on the field at practice with players. Then he moved to player development, which meant he couldn’t coach during practice. But he was able to interact more with the coaching staff and “grow in different ways there,” as Schumann put it. He had a role in game-planning, for instance.
“I think one of the biggest benefits is because I was there so long, I got to see each aspect of organization from a personal level, and take on different responsibilities,” Schumann said. “I did a little bit of everything, I guess, in a nutshell.”
Schumann, who will turn 28 in March, is among the youngest assistant coaches in high-level college football. He’s only four years older than Reggie Carter, one of his inside linebackers.
But ask Schumann if that helps him in relating to players and recruiting them, and he shrugs.
“A parent was asking me about relationships with my players in recruiting the other day. And I say, I feel I have a great relationship with my guys because I’m young — but not because of my age,” he said. “Because we have similar tastes in music or we do similar things. But because I feel so blessed to be able to coach them, and I like to think that if players know you’re excited to coach them every day then they respond to that. Because they know that you’re just not in it for yourself.”