UMass Amherst: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends

Spring 2008

PREREQUISITE
Outstanding in His Arena
A former all-American pioneers newfangled football and practices old-fashioned philanthropy
By Jim Fennell

Passing it forward: Steve Shubert ’72 uses his arena football franchise as a giveback to his community.

Success, it seems, has been a constant companion to Steve Schubert ’72.

He was an all-American wide receiver during his senior season for the Minutemen, and his name is still in the record books. (He was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame this past summer.) He played six years in the NFL, for the Chicago Bears, and the New England Patriots. He is senior vice president of UBS, a wealth management firm, and a civic leader in his hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire, tirelessly raising money for a wide range of charities.

He is also the managing partner of the Manchester Wolves, one of the model franchises in arenafootball2 (af2), Arena Football’s minor league, and was named the league’s Executive of the Year in 2005.

He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Sandy, for 34 years and has three children and three grandchildren.

Life has been good to Steve Schubert, and he is the first to admit it. But he will also tell you that none of it would have been possible if then UMass Amherst football coach Vic Fusia didn’t take a chance on him 37 years ago.

Schubert admits he spent more time on the playing fields at Manchester Central High School, where he was a four-sport standout, than studying. Fusia took a chance on him when other colleges wouldn’t.

“They had study halls for us. . . they were ahead of other colleges at that time, from the standpoint of helping athletes stay in school,” Schubert said. “One of the things I’m most proud of is getting my degree [in hotel and restaurant management] in four years, because I never thought I would.”
Maybe that’s why Schubert makes sure others are given the same kind of chance. For all his personal success, it’s what Schubert has given back that distinguishes him.

He has hosted an annual charity golf tournament for the past 30 years, raising over $500,000 for youth and high school sports organizations. Involved with Easter Seals since 1974, he spearheaded a drive last year that generated close to $250,000 for juvenile diabetes research. And Schubert sees to it that the Manchester Wolves donate thousands of tickets every year to youth groups.

“I do it because I’ve been blessed,” Schubert says. “God has been good to me and to my family. If people look at me, and possibly look up to me, then I want to be able to show them this is the way you live your life. You should give back to the community because the community has been here giving to you.”

Schubert and most of the team’s other nine owners are successful businessmen from the Manchester area who use the team as a vehicle to give back to the city.

“I was unbelievably impressed when I first came here,” af2 president Jerry Kurz said of his first visit to Manchester. The Wolves are now the model for the rest of the league. Putting together a strong local ownership group with deep ties to the community has become a blueprint for new franchises. Schubert chairs the league’s expansion committee and is one of the most influential members of its board of directors.

Being an owner for the Wolves is not about sipping champagne in a luxury suite during a game and making believe you’re Bob Kraft for a couple of hours. It’s about selling tickets, forging corporate relationships, and helping local charities and youth groups.

That was Schubert’s vision four years ago when he put the group together to bring the Mohegan Wolves from Connecticut to Manchester. He needed more than investors’ money; he needed their time.

“I’m a realist, and I knew I didn’t have the time to do it on my own,” Schubert said. His fellow owners had all been actively involved playing, coaching, officiating, and sponsoring area youth teams before they got involved with the Wolves. They still do all that; they just do more of it.

And Steve Schubert couldn’t be happier—because he understands that good things can happen when you give someone a chance, just as Vic Fusia did 37 years ago.

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