Strath Haven coach an asset to Eagles’ Stoutland
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.
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.