As frustrating as a daily commute can be, there are occasional benefits; namely, you're leaving work and heading home. Asheville School head football coach Gus Schill hasn't had a commute in nearly a decade. He, along with two of his assistants, live on campus in the dormitories as 'dorm parents.' "It's exciting," smiled Schill. "There's a real rush about the business of life living in a dorm setting."
Going by 'Dr. Schill' to most of the campus, the Blues' football leader also teaches classes and serves as the school chaplain during the academic year. In one Humanities class he did less lecturing and more listening as he prodded his students to come up with their own thoughts about the text they're reading, Homer's Iliad.
"I think that's the way a kid really learns," he explained. "When they can discover it on their own through homework or engaging with the text, it's much better than simply parroting something that I said."
Schill isn't averse to offering advice. It's something he can be called upon for at any hour of the day as the corner unit in Anderson Hall, where he lives with his wife. "You can't just put on the good hat for a few hours of the day and then walk away," he mused. "They see you in your natural setting, they see you when you're having a rough day. They see you when you're upset, they see how you handle conflict, they see how you deal with problems. Are you forgiving, are you compassionate?"
For many years Schill and his family lived in south Asheville in a house, but he jumped at the chance to live among the students when brought aboard at the idyllic private school just off Patton Avenue. "It was quite an adjustment," he admitted. "But now I live in a 60-room mansion, I have my own pool, and my own athletic fields, and feel like I'm living in a country club!"
Several of his players live in the dorms around the Schills. "It's living with thirty-two different kids from all over the globe, literally," stated senior center Tomson Kaplan.
6'4, 275 nose guard Zale Peart joked that he runs every time he sees his head coach around the living quarters, but quickly clarified that he welcomes any and all interactions with Schill. "It's great to have someone that's going to be mentoring us out on the field for hours, just on board with us," he said. "Being able to form a good relationship with him besides as just our coach."