Stanchek Still Creating Openings For White
When he was playing offensive line at West Virginia University, Ryan Stanchek created a lot of openings for Pat White, enough so that he became the all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks in college football history when both graduated.
Stanchek, recently promoted to offensive coordinator at Alcorn State University in Mississippi after being offensive line coach and running game coordinator on an offense that led Division 1 in rushing in three of the past four years, has opening yet another hole for White to go through.
One of the first things Stanchek did, with the full blessing of head coach Fred McNair, was hire White as his quarterbacks coach, giving him his first coaching job in college football at age 32 and perhaps creating a partnership that will take both of them to championships at Alcorn State and back into big time college football.
Certainly, Stanchek is thrilled with the addition of White to his staff.
Shortly after hiring White, in fact, Stanchek went to him and told him, “I just signed the No. 1 recruit in college football this year.”
Perhaps hoping it was a quarterback, White’s eyes got wide and he asked, “You did, who?”
“We got you, man,” Stanchek replied, laughing.
The two bring a certain chemistry to the staff that is sure to carry over to the players.
“We were raised in the game of football together,” Stanchek said. “We were together for five years (at WVU). Having someone like that, who has spent hours in that offense together, is great.
“Football wise we know each other. He will have a learning curve, but just talking to him the past two years trying to recruit him, I found out his football knowledge is very high.”
He knew White had all the other necessary traits.
“To me his leadership and field awareness were unmatched,” Stanchek said. “Obviously, he was a great athlete, but stature wise you have trouble believing he did what he did.
“Those on the outside don’t see the fiery competitor that I saw, the guy who would look you in the eye as you walked onto the field and say ‘It’s time to roll, boys.’ He’s going to bring that to the table with the quarterbacks. He’ll show them what it looks like and he’s a guy who has recently done it.”
So is Stanchek’s, who is living out his football dream.
“I knew from an early age, from high school on that I wanted to coach,” Stanchek, who came out of Cincinnati LaSalle when recruited in 2004 by Rich Rodriguez explained. “I enjoyed people and I knew that would be my path … it was just whether I was going to be a high school coach or a college coach.”
There was a time when he wavered some, thinking he might like to become a pilot.
“My dad said that might be an issue with your size,” the 6-foot-3, 305-pound Stanchek recalled. “It was either pilot or coach and at WVU I was in the ACE program.”
He says knowing what wanted to do early was a big. Also, knowing what he didn’t want to do also helped a lot.
His mother owned Abby’s Pub and Grill in Cincinnati for more than decade.
“I had a taste of that and knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I grew up doing the dishes. I became a bartender and waiter, but that wasn’t for me,” he admitted.
Early on he began studying the coaches he played under and when you ask who influenced him the most he replied:
“That’s a really tough question. I don’t think there there’s one I could pinpoint. A guy named Jim McQuaide – he’s now a head coach in Solon, Ohio, near Cleveland – was at LaSalle. He influenced me by how good man he is. I still call him and go up there.
“There were a lot of guys. I was lucky early on having those guys influence me.”
At WVU he came across Rick Trickett, who has a way of influencing everyone who played for him.
“You know, I was the 129th ranked guard in the country coming out, as a lot of us were. We no stars and two stars,” Stanchek said. “He’s the one who took my athletic career where it wouldn’t have gone. It wasn’t have done that if he wasn’t there. And Mike Barwis, for sure.
“It is more a gumbo pot of great coaching and you decide you want to do that for somebody else.”
He began coaching as a graduate assistant at Indiana under Greg Frey, went to Florida State and worked under Jimbo Fisher and Trickett as a G.A. and began thinking about getting a real job.
Tony Pecoraro, who was looking for an assistant at Alcorn State, was friends with former WVU offensive lineman Garin Justice, who suggested he look into Stanchek.
At the outset, Stanchek wasn’t sure about going to Alcorn State.
“I told my wife our goal was a Division I scholarship school for that first full-time coaching job,” he explained. “We didn’t know where Alcorn was. We knew it was Division I scholarship school. I looked at her, she looked at me. We went and checked it out and here we are,” he said.
It’s not Power 5 conference stuff.
“It’s different,” Stanchek admits. “The hardest part is being away from our families. The positive part is how nice people have been to us down here and, I don’t want to say this to you, but the weather. It’s been a lot warmer down here.”
The next obvious step if he continues to succeed would be to become a head coach somewhere, although that doesn’t rank high on his to do list.
“That’s not really been a dream of mine. I always told myself I want to be the best offensive line coach I can be and go from there. I don’t ever want to leave the college game. I love college football,” Stanchek said.
“This is what it’s all about, molding these 18-year-olds into 22-year-old men. Everyone thinks he’s a man when he’s 18, but their mom still pays their cell phone bill.”