JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Paxon’s Toby Frazier set out to help restore his alma mater.
Fernandina Beach’s Matt Schreiber went to teach and coach in Nassau County in 1982 and never left.
That duo wrapped up very distinguished careers on the high school basketball coaching circuit the same season, a contrast in both brevity and longevity.
Frazier spent eight seasons as a head coach, coached a Mr. Basketball winner and went to back-to-back state semifinals. The Jacksonville University product built the Golden Eagles to state final four status in a relatively short period of time.
Schreiber was in it for the long haul. His final season was his 37th season as a head coach, a tenure split between Hilliard and Fernandina Beach. Schreiber’s teams faced all three players to have won the state’s Mr. Basketball award (James Collins, Isaiah Adams, Deebo Coleman) and coached across parts of five decades.
“I think probably the best memories are remembering those teams and those successes,” Schreiber said. “And then also, you know, when you do see players later on that, not necessarily been successful in basketball, but just in life, and you know, maybe you had a small part to play in that. That’s pretty satisfying.”
Schreiber racked up 592 career victories, while Frazier notched 128.
“I never have been one of those guys that would be like a 30-year [coach], like a Coach Schreiber or Bernard Wilkes or Stephen Jenkins at Lee,” said Frazier, who was an assistant coach for 12 years before going to Paxon.
“Paxon was a project for me, personally. It was my old school. I felt like the program was in shambles prior to me coming in with a lot of motivation and to get it turned around. Was able to do that, actually exceed the expectations that I had.”
For Schreiber, his coaching victories alone put him in exclusive company.
Among area basketball coaches, Ribault’s Wilkes stands alone with a 758-159 career record. Wolfson’s Bruce Rosebrock (580-192), Bishop Kenny’s Joe Pichardo (560-243) and Bud Beech (530-400 at Ponte Vedra and Nease) are some of the notable area boys hoops coaches who are above the 500-win threshold. Providence’s Jim Martin, the most successful active coach, is over the 540-career win mark. Another longtime area coach, Sandalwood’s Rocky Cusack, retired this offseason after 340 wins over 24 seasons.
“Nassau County has been a great place for me to work at both Hilliard and Fernandina Beach High School. Basketball was important, so important to the community,” Schreiber said. “It was important to the players. So, you know, you felt like you were appreciated and, you know, doing something that you love with other people that love the same thing.”
Schreiber actually got his start as an assistant at Fletcher in 1980 alongside then-basketball coach Joe Reynolds, another area mainstay who has worn multiple coaching hats during his career. Two years later, Schreiber landed his first head coaching job at Hilliard. He spent 18 years there before making the move to Fernandina Beach.
“I played varsity basketball as an eighth grader at Southern Baptist Academy. And we played against Hilliard that year and Coach Schreiber was the coach at Hilliard. And seeing him still be around at this time, it made me feel funny,” Frazier said.
“You know, because I would have thoughts of frustration. You know, like two or three years ago, I’m like, I don’t know if I want to do this. And then I would run into Coach at the district tournament and I’m like thinking this guy still has it going.”
Frazier’s career closed with three straight season of 20 or more wins, including a 25-4 mark in 2019 and a 25-6 record in 2020. Isaiah Adams, the state’s Mr. Basketball, headlined the 2020 team.
“My main thing was my kids. And I always felt like if I focused on them, if I helped them become a certain type of person they would eventually turn into a certain type of player, and from that, we’ll have a certain type of program,” Frazier said. “So, I never focused on a record. I just went about the business to try to make sure kids had everything they needed, and tried to pour into them.”