6 November 1979 |
|Position||Second-row / Prop|
John Stankevitch (born 6 November 1979 in Whiston, England) is a rugby league coach and former footballer of the 2000s. Stankevitch played for St Helens and Widnes in the European Super League as a Second-row and as a Prop.
Having won the 1999 Championship, St Helens RLFC contested in the 2000 World Club Challenge against National Rugby League Premiers the Melbourne Storm, with Stankevitch playing from the interchange bench in the loss. This was Stankevitch's First Team debut and proved to be the first of many games during a trophy laden period at the club.
As Super League V champions, St Helens RLFC played against 2000 NRL Premiers, the Brisbane Broncos in the 2001 World Club Challenge. Stankevitch played from the interchange bench in Saints' victory. Stankevitch played for St Helens RFC from the interchange bench in their 2002 Super League Grand Final victory against the Bradford Bulls. Having won Super League VI, St Helens contested the 2003 World Club Challenge against 2002 NRL Premiers, the Sydney Roosters. Stankevitch played at prop forward in Saints' 38-0 loss.
Beginning his coaching career at his home town club Widnes Vikings, as Senior Academy Head Coach in 2006, Stankevitch led the side to 2 Grand Finals in two seasons, and assisted in the development of players such as Warrington Wolves' Richie Myler, Bradford Bulls star Adam Sidlow, Huddersfield Giants front row forward Anthony Mullally and numerous other current Super League stars.
In 2007 Stankevitch was approached by Championship side Doncaster RL and asked to take over as Head Coach, mid way through the season. It was a tough ask, as Doncaster sat bottom of the table, 13 points adrift of safety with only 7 league games remaining. Despite taking over and building a team from scratch inside a week (players had been released due to club administration), the team were relegated at the end of the 2007 season, despite heroically winning 4 of their last 7 games.
At the end of the 2007 season Stankevitch tendered his resignation in order to return to the Widnes Vikings as Assistant Coach, working with the First Team squad on a full-time basis and he held that role until January 2009 when he was appointed caretaker Head Coach, after the dismissal of Steve mcCormack.
Stankevitch, in the games that followed, led the Vikings to a record Challenge Cup victory against Saddleworth Rangers, Widnes highest ever score to date. He also led the first team to a televised victory against Toulouse Olympique in which the team won by 72-0, in Round 1 of the League season. Stankevitch also led the team through the group stages of the Northern Rail Cup and the club went on to win the Cup later in that year. Although a brief spell of only 5 games, statistically Stankevitch is Widnes' most successful coach of all time based on % wins at 80%.
Despite being a favourite for the permanent role of Head Coach with many fans, Stankevitch left the club in June 2009, after the appointment of Paul Cullen as Head Coach and the club reverting to part-time.
Stankevitch was quickly recruited as backs coach and coaching advisor at Rugby Union Championship side Rotherham Titans,
Stankevitch joined Rochdale Hornets in Championship 1 ahead of the 2010 season, in the position of Head Coach. Stankevitch also spent time during 2010 as Director of Rugby at Priestley College in Warrington and as a sports lecturer. He led the Rochdale Hornets club to Play Off finishing positions in 2010, 2011 and 2012, despite having one of the lowest playing budgets in Championship 1.
In November 2012, Stankevitch left his role as Head Coach at Rochdale Hornets after deciding to take time out from the game to concentrate on family life and business interests and he is yet to return to coaching as at March 2014.