September 22, 1908|
|Died||June 27, 1992
|Alma mater||Pennsylvania State College
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1931–1933||Western Maryland (assistant)|
|1953||Chicago Cardinals (assistant)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1944–1946|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Jacob Neil "Skip" Stahley (September 22, 1908 – June 27, 1992) was a college football coach and athletic director. In sixteen seasons as a head coach, the last eight at the University of Idaho, his overall record was 56–85–3 (.399).
Born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Stahley was an outstanding athlete at Lebanon High School and graduated in 1926. He attended Penn State in State College, where he majored in English and played football, earning honorable mention All-American honors. A three-sport letterman, Stahley also captained the basketball and lacrosse teams for the Nittany Lions. He graduated in 1931 and later earned a master's degree from Columbia University.
Early coaching career
Stahley began his coaching career in 1931 as an assistant at Western Maryland College in Westminster under head coach Dick Harlow. In 1934, he became the head coach at the University of Delaware, and compiled a 4–3–1 record in Newark, then moved north to the Boston area and was an assistant coach at Harvard University, also under Harlow. From 1941 to 1943, Stahley was the head coach at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, with a 14–11 (.560) record.
Stahley served in the U.S. Navy in San Diego during World War II, and then coached in Washington, D.C. at George Washington University, with a 5–10–1 record in 1946 and 1947. He briefly returned to the West Coast in March 1948 as the backfield coach at the University of Washington in Seattle under new head coach Howie Odell. After two months, Stahley left for the Midwest to become the head coach at Toledo, and compiled an 11–10 record in two seasons.
Stahley returned to Seattle in 1950 as backfield coach at Washington for three seasons under Odell, where he mentored notable Huskies Hugh McElhenny and Don Heinrich. Odell was pressured to resign by the athletic director after a 7–3 season in 1952 and was replaced by John Cherberg, the coach of the freshman team.
Stahley left the Huskies to coach in the NFL as the backfield coach with the Chicago Cardinals under head coach Joe Stydahar. The Cardinals ended 1953 with a win in the final game to finish at 1–10–1 (.125), the worst record in the twelve-team league.
Stahley quickly returned to college football in February 1954 as the head coach at Idaho at an annual salary of $9,000. The Vandals had finished the 1953 season at 1–8 under third-year head coach Babe Curfman.
Stahley compiled a 22–51–1 (.304) record in eight seasons in Moscow. While on the Palouse, he coached future NFL notables Jerry Kramer, Wayne Walker, Jim Prestel, and AFL all-star Jim Norton. The Vandals were members of the Pacific Coast Conference for Stahley's first five seasons, then played as an independent when the conference disbanded. Idaho's only conference victory under Stahley came in his first season: the winless Vandals (0–5) surprised and shut out neighbor Washington State 10–0 in Pullman in the Battle of the Palouse in 1954. It was Idaho's first victory in football over the Cougars in 29 years, and the subsequent eight-mile (13 km) march by WSC students from Pullman to Moscow was featured in Life magazine: The win started a four-game winning streak, Idaho's longest in 31 years, to finish at 4–5 for the 1954 season. That win at Rogers Field in his first attempt turned out to be Stahley's only triumph over the Cougars; the Vandals waited a full decade before the next.
When Idaho athletic director Bob Gibb left in 1960, Stahley took over those duties in July for four years. He handled both jobs for a year and a half, then stepped down under pressure as football coach in January 1962. The following month, he hired Dee Andros, an assistant coach at Illinois and a former guard under Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma. As AD, Stahley was a driving force in the creation of the Big Sky Conference, which was formed in February 1963.
After a decade in Moscow, Stahley resigned as Idaho's athletic director in 1964 to become the first full-time director of athletics at Portland State College (now PSU), where he served until retirement in 1972. Following the 1964 football season, head coach Andros left after three years for Oregon State in Corvallis to succeed Tommy Prothro, who left the Rose Bowl team for UCLA.
Stahley's eight consecutive seasons as head coach of Idaho football remains the most in the university's history; as a result, he also continues to lead the Vandals in losses, with 51.
Prior to his last season as head coach, Stahley was granted a US patent 2967709 for an early defensive reaction machine, issued on January 10, 1961. The "Athletic Training Apparatus" was conceived to improve the reactions of defensive linemen at the line of scrimmage.
Halls of fame
Stahley is a member of the Idaho Sports Hall of Fame, the Western Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, and the National Association of Collegiate athletic directors Hall of Fame.
Stahley married Mrs. Shirley Sherman Kime (c.1910–1993) in Toledo on July 1, 1950. They had two daughters, and she had two sons from a previous marriage. Following retirement from PSU in 1972, Stahley and his wife continued to reside in Portland for the next two decades; he died in 1992 at the age of 83, and she died the following year.
While an assistant coach in 1938, The Harvard Crimson newspaper reported that Stahley knocked out a suspected burgler with a single punch. In the early hours of a winter morning in Somerville, Massachusetts, the perpetrator was halfway through a second floor apartment window when he was discovered by its female occupant, and she let out an audible warning. Stahley also lived in the building, and he and a couple of companions were outside at the base of the fire escape to encounter him.
Head coaching record
|Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens (Independent) (1934)|
|Brown Bears (Independent) (1941–1943)|
|George Washington Colonials (Southern Conference) (1946–1947)|
|Toledo Rockets (Independent) (1948–1949)|
|Idaho Vandals (Pacific Coast Conference) (1954–1958)|
|Idaho Vandals (University Division independent) (1959–1961)|
- "Stahley chosen Idaho grid pilot". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). February 2, 1954. p. 10.
- The University of Idaho Magazine, Oct 1992, Vol.10, No.4, p.20.
- "Former Idaho coach dies". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). July 2, 1992. p. 1C.
- Stahley, Jacob N. (January 10, 1961). "Athletic Training Apparatus #2,967,709". United States Patent and Trademark Office. (filed: November 12, 1959). Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- CFB Data Warehouse - Skip Stahley - accessed 2009-10-03
- "J. Neil (Skip) Stahley, 83, UI athletic director". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- Worden, Al (December 21, 1962). "J. Neil (Skip) Slahley has fine career in college sports events". Ogden Standard-Examiner. (Utah). p. 16.
- "Skip Stahley named head coach at Brown; was at Harvard". Lewiston Daily Sun. (Maine). Associated Press. February 13, 1941. p. 9.
- "Stahley to coach at Toledo". Meriden Record. (Connecticut). Associated Press. May 5, 1948. p. 12.
- Rothman, Seymour (August 5, 1948). "TU's new kicking device". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 31.
- Missildine, Harry (May 24, 1964). "Stahley's departure conjures memories". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1-sports.
- "Skip Stahley named Idaho grid mentor". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). Associated Press. February 12, 1954. p. 6.
- "1953 Chicago Cardinals". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- "Stahley seeking three assistants; new Idaho coach to get free hand". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). February 12, 1954. p. 10.
- "O.K. Stahley's $9,000 salary". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). Associated Press. February 23, 1954. p. 8.
- "Idaho regents meet in January; Babe Curfman position unsettled". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). November 23, 1953. p. 15.
- "Curfman and three aides resign posts at Idaho". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). December 21, 1953. p. 21.
- "'Circumstances' force Curfman's resignation". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). December 22, 1953. p. 12.
- "Idaho plans thorough search for coach; Curfman out". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). December 22, 1953. p. 12.
- Boni, Bill (October 24, 1954). "Idaho thumps WSC, 10-0". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1-sports.
- ""Win made us ballclub," says Skip Stahley". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). October 25, 1954. p. 17.
- "The March on Moscow". Life. November 15, 1954. p. 63.
- "Vandals win fourth in a row". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 21, 1954. p. 1-sports.
- "Stahley is satisfied with Vandals' season". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). November 22, 1954. p. 17.
- Missildine, Harry (October 25, 1964). "Thunder Ray leads Idaho's charge". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1-sports.
- "Stahley new Idaho "A.D." in addition to grid post". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). March 22, 1960. p. 13.
- "Idaho regents drop Stahley from grid post". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 15, 1962. p. 10.
- "Idaho fires grid coach Skip Stahley". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. UPI. January 15, 1962. p. 2B.
- Carter, Jack (February 18, 1962). "Illinois aide Dee Andros named Idaho football coach". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 8.
- Missildine, Harry (February 18, 1962). "Former Sooner guard new Idaho coach". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1-sports.
- "New Vandal coach". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (photo). February 19, 1962. p. 11.
- Missildine, Harry (February 26, 1963). "Six western schools create Big Sky athletic conference". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 12.
- "Big Sky is ready for league action". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). February 26, 1963. p. 13.
- "Stahley quits Idaho post for job at Portland State". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). May 21, 1964. p. 10.
- "Stahley weds". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). July 4, 1950. p. 35.
- "Shirley Stahley". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Idaho-Washington. (obituary). September 21, 1993. p. 3A.
- "Shirley Sherman Stahley". Toledo Blade. Ohio. (obituary). September 15, 1993. p. 14.
- "Skip Stahley fells burglar with his powerhouse punch". Harvard Crimson. (Cambridge, Massachusetts). February 2, 1938. Retrieved November 21, 2016.