Stubler promoted to head coach

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Toronto Argonauts defensive coordinator Rich Stubler speaks with two of his starters, Willie Pile (left) and Kevin Eiben (right) in a July game against the Montreal Alouettes. Stubler is a 1967 Glenwood Springs High School graduate and the son of legendary former GSHS football coach and athletic director, Nick Stubler.
John E. Sokolowski | JES

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – A coaching career that began at Roaring Fork High School hit a new peak on Thursday when the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts announced Rich Stubler as the successor to outgoing head coach Mike “Pinball” Clemons.The widely anticipated move came on the heels of Clemons’ shift to the Argonauts’ front office as the club’s new CEO. Clemons wanted only Stubler, who began his CFL coaching career in 1983, for the head coaching position.”Through (my) transition from player to coach, Rich Stubler has been my most trusted friend, all and colleague,” Clemons told the Toronto media. “Both as men and professionals, we have grown together. … There was no other choice to take our team to the next level, present company included.”Stubler is a 1967 graduate of Glenwood Springs High School, where he played football before moving on to the University of Wyoming. From there, the defensive guru started his coaching career at Roaring Fork under then-head coach Bill Hanks, kicking off a career that’s included numerous stops in the collegiate, CFL and Arena Football League ranks. This is Stubler’s first head coaching job after more than 20 years as a defensive coordinator.The Stubler name will forever be linked to Glenwood Springs through Rich’s father, Nick, who crafted a legacy as Glenwood Springs High School’s football coach and athletic director. The school’s football/soccer field – Stubler Memorial Field – bears the family surname as a tribute to the elder Stubler, who died 20 years ago.An architect of many a stingy defense during his storied tenure, Stubler has coached on four Grey Cup-winning teams. He’s built Toronto’s defense into one of the league’s best since he arrived there in 2003. Over the past five seasons, the Argos have allowed a league-low 163 touchdowns in 90 regular season games.Stubler’s dedication and trust-based coaching style has won him fans in the Toronto clubhouse.”He’s one of those guys that’s ahead of his time,” Argonauts linebacker Chuck Winters said last month. “The way he prepares a game plan for you. He allows you to look and decipher and what you’re doing, what the scheme is.”How did Stubler’s coaching style come to form? Look no further than his lineage.”My dad was a great influence on me,” said the Argonauts’ 39th head coach last month. “He always told me that coaching is about coaching people and not X’s and O’s. He taught me that players play and coaches watch. You have to turn it over to the players, empower the players to make plays. That was something I needed to learn. He told me that way early.”Clemons, whom Stubler holds in the highest regard, leaves some rather big shoes for the Glenwood native to fill. The former CFL running back is perhaps the league’s best player ever and proved just as good a coach as a master motivator. “He’s the most recognizable person in all of Canada,” Stubler said. “He’s a great motivator. I’m not kidding when I tell you he’s the epitome of what that is. He does a great job of understanding the players. … He’s a great person and understands that football is a great game, but life is more important.”Now it’s time for Stubler to cement his legacy.He said: “As head coach, the Argonauts family has given me the opportunity to realize my dream – finding ways to bring the Grey Cup back to Toronto is my goal.”

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