EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 23, 2013

Gridiron Greats: Andover's Stabile was the total package

Gridiron Greats
Michael Muldoon

---- — ANDOVER — Jerry Stabiles only come along every so often.

He was a rare combination of size (6-0, 195 pounds), strength (threw the shot put 53-9), speed (hurdler/sprinter in track), toughness and brains (won BC football’s prestigious Scanlan scholar-athlete award).

With Stabile, a ferocious linebacker, Andover’s first-team defense in 1976 gave up just three touchdowns all season en route to winning its second straight EMass. Division 2 Super Bowl.

“He was all over the field, both on offense and defense,” said Tom Coffey, a fellow starting linebacker. “When Jerry hit you, it hurt. He was fast, tough and had a mean streak. He was the definition of a football player.”

Stabile said, “When you are on that field, you have to know you are tougher and better than everyone else. If you truly believe it, you can do whatever you want.”

Stabile made a lot of believers. Of course, 195 pounds back then would be the equivalent of 220 today.

That size and speed combination earned him plenty of suitors. He chose BC over Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Navy and the Ivy Leagues.

There he played (and played right away) with some top-flight talent like Fred Smerlas, Steve DeOssie and his roommmate, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network and ABC Sports.

He played against some top talent, too. His senior year, he faced third-ranked Pitt with Dan Marino and then the next week it was 11th-ranked Stanford with John Elway.

BC nearly pulled the upset against Marino (14-6 loss) then rolled past Stanford 30-13. Stabile was all over the field that day and included an interception on Elway to go with a whopping four pass-breakups and six tackles. The strong safety was named ECAC Player of the Week and earned Eagle-Tribune Performance of the Year honors.

Eagles coach Ed Chlebek said at the time, “Jerry has had two impressive back-to-back games and can play this position as well as anyone. He’s a versatile athlete and adept in both areas of defense.”

Stabile said, “Looking back at what Elway became, it was a sweet memory.”

Stabile was a three-year starter and led the Eagles’ defensive backs in tackles his final two years with a combined 150.

As a freshman, he played fullback, carrying 12 times for 48 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t, however, fight the switch to strong safety.

“I have no scars on either knee, so I ended up healthier,” said Stabile, who rushed 118 times for 876 yards and scored 12 TDs as a senior in Andover’s pass-oriented run-and-shoot offense. “I liked to hit people.”

The sweetest high school memory? That’s easy.

“It has to be the Super Bowls,” said Stabile, who grew up in the Shawsheen section of Andover. “It has to be a thrill for kids today. At the time, it was probably even a bigger thrill.”

He played for legendary coach Dick Collins, who for the 1976 Eagle-Tribune All-Star team said of Stabile, “Offensively and defensively, I don’t think there is a player around who can touch him.”

“In my mind’s eye, Dick was always an icon,” said Stabile, who was on Andover’s board of selectmen from 2007-10.

“He ruled the old-fashioned way, discipline and the concept of team and everybody playing a role. That really taught me hard work and discipline and teamwork. It sounds cliche, but they are life lessons I carry with me today.”

A business and communications major at BC, Stabile, a married father of four girls, has done well in business. He was a co-founder four years ago of eZuce Corp., which is located in Brickstone Square in Andover. He is the COO of the unified communications (UC) software and services company.

Stabile inspired by tragic death of his brother

Jerry Stabile was the second of four athletic brothers.

Oldest brother Tony was being touted as one of the top running backs Andover had seen in years.

“A week before, he was MVP of the East-West game (the town’s junior high schools) and then a week later we lost him,” said Stabile, who was inducted into the Andover High Hall of Fame in 2006. “It was a stroke. It had a tremendous impact. When we lost Tony, it was a huge hole. It had a lot to do with who I became and what I was able to accomplish.”

The younger brothers were also talented athletes. Bob scored a team-high 7 TDs for Andover in 1983 and then starred at UMass Lowell. Steve overcame major kidney surgery to start for the Golden Warriors and also captained the gymnastics team.

The next generation has continued the tradition. Tom Stabile, Steve’s son, broke Uncle Jerry’s family season rushing record. The senior tri-captain has 948 yards this fall for North Andover and his younger sister Stephanie is a soccer player and track sprinter for the Knights.

Bob’s daughters, Becca and Sam, are among the greatest track athletes in Haverhill High history.

Jerry’s two oldest daughters, Joslyn and Alexa Stabile, are in Los Angeles. Alexa works in public relations while Joslyn is an aspiring model/actress.

Joslyn has worked on three films: “The Sadist,” “Pawn,” and “The Cornerman.”

In “Pawn” she worked with Michael Chiklis, the former Andover High football captain who is a close family friend.

While being interviewed, Jerry noted he had just received a text from one of his brothers that Joslyn could be seen sitting right behind Simon Cowell (on the “X Factor”).

Stabile also has two daughters in middle school in Andover, Carly and Julia, who play basketball and lacrosse.

Local Scanlan Award Winners

BC’s most prestigious football award is the Scanlan Scholar-Athlete Award:

Year Name Comment

1961 Dan Sullivan After NFL career, moved to Andover

1976 Tom Lynch After NFL career, moved to Salem

1980 Jerry Stabile Andover High grad still lives in town

1992 Mike Marinaro Andover High grad now lives in Windham

2001 Brian St. Pierre After NFL career, moved to Georgetown