RIO RANCHO, N.M. — He’ll turn 74 before this football season ends and, indeed, Bob Stanley looms as a grizzled veteran when it comes to the game of football.
And now, bringing with him what Rio Rancho High School coach David Howes calls a wealth of knowledge, Stanley is the Rams’ offensive line coach. He replaces former Syracuse tight end Brandon Darlington, who recently resigned his position to further his education.
Stanley’s résumé includes being a defensive end at the University of Texas for the legendary Darrell Royal – he still remembers “the brutal long, hot workouts and the reminder that the Longhorn winning tradition would never be entrusted to the timid or the weak.”
Something instilled back then and still in his mind today: “The harder I work the luckier I get.”
Stanley has had assistant coaching stints in the Big-10 and the Big-12, and among the 11 colleges he’s worked at in all, that one season with the University of New Mexico ultimately led to his path to Rio Rancho.
It was in Albuquerque that he met Lobos assistant Danny Gonzales, now an assistant at Arizona State University; Gonzales is Howes’ brother-in-law. He’d occasionally run into Howes while scouting for head coach Rocky Long.
“My wife and I, when we were coaching here, we both agreed that when it came time to establish a permanent residence, that we would do it in Albuquerque – we love it,” Stanley said. “We’re both from Texas, and these people in Albuquerque are as friendly as the people in Texas.”
He said they also like the climate, and are living on the West Side: “I can take a rock and throw it into Rio Rancho,” he quipped.
Howes said as long as those rocks don’t hit him, he’s happy, already looking forward to seeing how well the offensive line will protect quarterback Isaiah Chavez this season, blocking for him on pass plays and opening up holes for the speedy QB and running back Zach Vigil to scamper through.
“There’s a lot of great football coaches out there, and when you have a guy like Bob Stanley, with the resume he has and the time he’s spent in Texas high school football, and obviously the Division 1 ranks throughout his entire career – he’s played in the Division 1 ranks – he’s run the gamut, from the bottom to the top,” said RRHS coach David Howes. “It’s amazing what he brings to the table: a wealth of knowledge, a demeanor, an attitude – he is a teacher … he makes everyone around him better.
“The kids really respond to his tone and his structure – and he brings 40-plus years of football to these kids, and they soak it up. It’s amazing,” Howes added. “You’ve got to keep up with him: He’s out there at linebacker, he’s out there at outside linebacker, he’s out there barking it around – he runs from station to station. You’ve got to run to keep up with him.”
Although he said he preferred newspaper articles to feature the Rams players, Stanley understands a football career of more than 50 years can’t be easily dismissed.
He earned three letters while playing football for Royal at Texas, and he played in the Bluebonnet Bowl in 1966. Stanley earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1968. His coaching career (see shaded box) began in the Lone Star State – and almost ended there last fall in Lubbock.
“You like to pride yourself that you did a good job and left it better than when you got there,” he said of his life’s work. “We won the Big-12 championship when I was at Kansas State, because we had phenomenal players and phenomenal people.”
He also has great memories from his days at Texas A&M, where he participated in a recent reunion, which was a “fantastic experience, because the relationships you build are lifelong.
“I like football – and I like to see good football coaches,” he said, remembering visiting Rio Rancho Stadium to watch summer practices. “I’d watch ’em practice and that kind of stuff, and look at kids, but the main thing was I like to watch good coaches coach and Dave is a good coach.
“So I’d come out here and bug him for a week or two when I was off, and so we just got so we knew each other,” he continued. “When we decided to move back to Albuquerque, this was kind of a natural situation because I like to coach.”
As a coach, he explained, the emphasis is “it’s the team: It’s the team, it’s the team, it’s the team.
“That’s what they play for: They play for each other, that’s what they work their rear end off for. Offensive linemen are really a unique set of guys, because they bond together,” he said.
Howes said the Rams have 11 starters from 2018 – a disappointing 4-7 season, ending with three consecutive losses – back for 2019, with five sophomores and two freshmen who got a lot of experience at the end of the year.”
Stanley said it isn’t necessarily experience that leads to success, it’s “work ethic.
“I think all of Dave’s teams, that I have observed, have a great work ethic,” he said, noting that the OL needs the most work on “consistency and fundamentals.”
There’s probably no better place to glean those attributes than under the tutelage of Stanley, that aforementioned grizzled veteran.
1968: Nimitz Junior High School, Odessa, Texas; ninth-grade football coach.
1969: Alice (Texas) High School; defensive coordinator.
1970-72: Permian High School, Odessa, Texas; OL and linebackers coach.
1973-81: Texas A&M; OL coach.
1982: TCU; OL coach.
1983-85: Vanderbilt; OL coach.
1986: Texas; OL coach.
1987-90: Purdue; offensive coordinator/OL coach.
1991-94: Akron; assistant head coach/OL coach.
1995: Washington High School, Massillon, Ohio; OL coach.
1996-97: Temple; OL coach.
1997-99: Irving (Texas) High School; assistant head coach/OL coach.
1999-2001: Kansas State; graduate assistant/offensive tackles coach.
2001-02: SMU; OL coach.
2002-05: Kansas State; OL coach.
2006: UNM; OL coach.
2007-10: Western Michigan University; OL coach.
2011-18: Monterey High School, Lubbock, Texas; assistant coach.
(As an assistant coach, he’s been with teams – bold-faced here if victorious — playing in the following postseason games: 1975 Liberty Bowl, 1977 Sun Bowl, 1977 Bluebonnet Bowl, 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl, 1981 Independence Bowl, 2001 Cotton Bowl, 2001 Insight.com Bowl, and the 2004 Fiesta Bowl.)