Three years and three days. Thirty games.
That’s how long Weber State assistant coach Ted Stanley went between football victories, amid upheaval in his life.
And when Southern Utah’s two-point conversion attempt failed in the final minute and the Wildcats secured a 24-22 win Saturday, the instant feelings of happiness and relief for Stanley made it my favorite moment of the football season so far.
Having met Stanley in August, following the pregnancy-related loss of his wife, Jocelyn, I became emotionally attached to the Wildcats. I’ve hoped they would perform well enough for interim coach Jody Sears and his staff to keep their jobs beyond this season.
That issue remains in question, obviously, considering WSU’s 1-7 record. But there’s a chance, now that they’ve broken through with a Big Sky Conference road win. After being idle this week, the Wildcats probably have to win all three November games — or at least two of them, while playing well in the other — for athletic director Jerry Bovee to give Sears the job permanently.
That would provide stability to Stanley, a Salt Lake City native who’s raising his 4-month-old daughter, Emmerson, with the help of his parents and others.
He spent nine seasons as the head coach of Kenyon College, a Division III school in Ohio, before resigning last November following consecutive 0-10 seasons. Stanley probably could have stayed longer, but a lack of administrative support wore him down. So did the Lords’ 23-game losing streak, dating to an Oct. 17, 2009 victory over Oberlin.
So his personal losing streak had gone beyond three years, before the Wildcats built a 21-6 lead in the third quarter and ended up hanging on for the victory in Cedar City. No coach at any level of college football deserved or appreciated a victory Saturday more than Stanley, and I can only hope there are three more of them in his immediate future.