Strath Haven coach an as­set to Ea­gles’ Stout­land

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - Bob Grotz Colum­nist

More than a place to live, Ea­gles of­fen­sive line coach Jeff Stout­land needed a res­i­dence his daugh­ter could call home.

It would be her fourth move, which is three more than a lot of teenagers.

The search took Stout­land to Had­don­field, N.J., which was ap­peal­ing.

It ended in Walling­ford thanks in no small part to Kevin Clancy, the Strath Haven High foot­ball coach. They knew each other from Stout­land’s re­cruit­ing trips for col­leges like Michi­gan State.

If you’re keep­ing count that’s 301 ca­reer foot­ball wins for Clancy, the oth­ers in ac­tual games. But back to Stout­land.

Stout­land was talk­ing about how dif­fi­cult it was for a lot of coaches who move fam­i­lies be­cause of job changes. Ideally, you’d like to make friends and stick around for a while. But that’s not re­al­ity for a lot of pro coaches.

Stout­land coached at Alabama (2010-12), Mi­ami (2007-10), Michi­gan State (2000-06) and Syra­cuse (199799), among ma­jor pro­grams. About the only thing those ar­eas have in com­mon is Denny’s and Home De­pot, and the like.

“I said ‘look, honey, wher­ever you want to live, what­ever school you want to go to that’s where we’ll live,’” Stout­land said to his daugh­ter.

“She smiled.”

Madi­son Stout­land, it’s safe to say, has been smil­ing ever since.

Coach Stout­land not only earned a Su­per Bowl ti­tle ring with the Ea­gles this past Fe­bru­ary — his line put on a clinic that Sun­day. The Ea­gles toyed with the stunts and shifts Bill Belichick threw at them. When Stout­land re­viewed the game, he al­most stood up and ap­plauded.

“It was like watch­ing syn­chro­nized swim­ming,” he said. “They were just in such sync, the sets and the play­ers. When you teach a con­cept you’re al­ways look­ing for the per­fect play. You want to save that and show it to other play­ers. There were so many of those plays in that game that I’ve been able to save. It was re­ally spe­cial.”

The Ea­gles torched Belichick’s de­fense for 41 points and 538 yards. And they did it with­out in­jured all-world tackle Ja­son Peters, Stout­land help­ing make a star out of Halapouli­vaati Vaitai.

The un­der­stated role Clancy played in bring­ing the Stout­lands to Delco is no less in­ter­est­ing.

Clancy struck up a re­la­tion­ship with Stout­land about half­way through the his­tor­i­cal march to 300 vic­to­ries. It was right around the time Mark Jones and Dan Con­nor were help­ing the Pan­thers make state cham­pi­onship head­lines. Jones starred at Ten­nessee, Con­nor at Penn State. They played six sea­sons apiece in the NFL.

Clancy im­pressed Stout­land enough to prac­ti­cally re­main on speed dial.

“I think I was sit­ting around watch­ing the news one week­end, and he called me,” Clancy said. “He and his wife were driv­ing through Walling­ford look­ing at houses. He said, ‘What do you think of the neigh­bor­hood, is it a good spot for me?’ I said I’ll tell you what, you could get an in­ter­view with our prin­ci­pal on Mon­day. And he did. He came in and met MaryJo Yan­na­cone and they hit it off right away. His daugh­ter is a real good stu­dent, a mem­ber of the band and all kinds of stuff. It’s re­ally nice to have the fam­ily in the dis­trict. And he’s do­ing a heck of a job coach­ing the Ea­gles.”

Clancy, by the way, took no credit for mak­ing Stout­land’s fam­ily co­zier in their lat­est move. He en­joyed telling his part of the story just as he’s en­joyed all of those vic­to­ries he cred­its to his staff and play­ers.

When I called Clancy, it was partly be­cause I was cer­tain the con­nec­tion had some­thing to do with for­mer Ea­gles lineback­ers coach Bill McGovern, now with the New York Giants. McGovern served on Chip Kelly’s staff with Stout­land, and still has a lot of friends in Nether Prov­i­dence. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been wrong.

But Clancy knows McGovern be­cause he re­cruited Pan­thers play­ers for UMass. Clancy knows Ryan Day, who spent a year on Kelly’s staff with the Ea­gles, and now is the act­ing head coach at Ohio State, be­cause Day re­cruited Strath Haven play­ers for Bos­ton Col­lege (NFL Net­work an­a­lyst Mike May­ock in­sisted Day al­ways stop at Strath Haven).

Heck, Kelly tried to re­cruit the Con­nors’s when he was at New Hamp­shire. And don’t for­get that Andy Reid per­son­ally handed out state cham­pi­onship rings to the Pan­thers at Strath Haven. Clancy is a cat with sub­stance.

Know­ing what he knows of Stout­land, Clancy can’t wait to see the growth in Jor­dan Mailata, the 6-8, 346-pound con­verted rugby player who looked de­cent last Thurs­day in his first foot­ball game ever.

“The Ea­gles are blessed with good coaches,” Clancy said. “I don’t think that Su­per Bowl was a one-shot thing. They’re go­ing to be good for years to come. Build­ing the con­fi­dence of Nick Foles to come in and make the play­off run was im­pres­sive. It’s just im­pres­sive. As a fan in Philadel­phia it’s just fun to watch. And we’re lucky Jeff set­tled in Me­dia.”

Ev­ery county should be lucky enough to have a Kevin Clancy.

This one is just more for­tu­nate than the oth­ers.

Ea­gles of­fen­sive line coach Jeff Stout­land, left, talks with line­man Ja­son Kelce at a re­cent prac­tice at Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field.

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