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.@wchendersonlax coach Stankewicz honored for 50 years of coaching after win over Owen J. Roberts

Sunday, 15th April 2018

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  
 

By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/15/18

Paul Stankewicz was asked if he enjoys coaching lacrosse as much today as he did when he began his career at Henderson an amazing 50 years ago.

“Oh yeah; the more work you put into it the more fun it is,” Stankewicz said “It’s the same with the kids; if they put a lot into then they get a lot back. If they don’t they won’t get a lot out of it.”

Paul Stankewicz has coached for 50 years at Henderson lacrosse

Clearly, after 50 years – 14 as an assistant and 36 as head coach – Stankewicz has gotten a lot out of his time at Henderson. And based on Saturday night’s celebration to honor his half-century at the West Chester school, many others have found the work has paid off.

Following the Warriors’ 16-4 win over Owen J. Roberts, Stankewicz was honored in a special celebration for his illustrious career, which probably is not close to ending. More than 50 of his former players and coaches/colleagues, dozens of family members and the West Chester lacrosse thanked him for his service.

The event featured speeches after the game and a presentation of a special drawing by a Henderson student and formal announcement of a Paul J. Stankewicz Book Scholarship, which will go each year to a Henderson senior lacrosse player. Already over $4,100 has been raised. (Click here to make a donation.) A reception also was held at a West Chester restaurant.

“Stank,” as he is affectionately known, only learned four days earlier about the plans for the ceremony, which was supposed to be a surprise.

“When all the people started asking me, how long did you coach, I put up two fingers and they said 20 years?” he laughed. “I said, ‘No, too long.’ After the fifth or sixth person asked me I had an idea something was up. Then my daughter came into town (from the West Coast). It’s tough to keep it a secret.

Paul Stankewicz (in front of easel in middle) is flanked by his players, former players and coaches and family

“I was just glad we won the game (Henderson’s sixth win in a row). Thats the only thing I had on my mind until right after the game.”

Stankewicz admitted the attention was emotional for a man who is known for giving all the credit and attention to everyone else.

“It is overwhelming … it is overwhelming,” he said, “You don’t know what to say; you see all these people and don’t realize how many people you’ve met and touched and worked with.”

Stankewicz – who taught 40 years in the math classroom at Henderson before retiring in 2010 – is a rarity in that he is old-school yet able to connect with all players. He began his coaching career at the age of 21 when he was a student-teacher from West Chester College in 1969. He began teaching math and served as an assistant to Bob Brinton for 14 years until Brinton went to Penn and later West Chester College. Stank, also an assistant football coach, became the head coach and 36 years later he has 416 wins, 12 league championships, and three trips to the state finals – the last being last season when his squad fell one goal short of Springfield-Delco.

“Henderson lacrosse probably would not be here without him,” said Henderson 2018 attackman/middie Pat Keegan, who had three goals and four assists in the game as Henderson improved to 6-3. “Fifty years is a lot of time! That’s a lot of dedication and a lot of wins.

“I think he means more to this school and this program than probably anyone else around.”

Senior Archer Rymiszewski, who had five goals and one assist Saturday, said Stankewicz teaches his players much more than lacrosse skills.

Pat Keegan (left), Archer Rymiszewski

“He just puts in our minds the same mentality every day; you need to hustle all the time and helps a lot mentally and physically,” he said. “He wants you to always do the right thing. He teaches us life lessons. He has taught us how to be a better person; it’s great to have him as a mentor and a coach.”

“This is eye opening,” added Keegan. “It’s pretty hard to believe anyone has been around one sport for 50 years, let alone at one school. The West Chester lacrosse community is very tight-knit. Everyone knows everyone and he knows everyone in the community. he is someone who is there for you day in and day out, whether it’s lacrosse season or not. He will do anything for you.”

never was one to bask in the spotlight so his only concern Saturday was making sure his team played its best.

Bruce Vosburgh – one of the committee members for this ceremony – played for Stankewicz at Henderson when he was the assistant. Vosburgh later started the program at Unionville and coached there for many years; he credits Stankewicz for instilling in him the skills and work ethic needed to be a successful coach and person.

“He is always about the kids and being fair,” said Vosburgh. “I coached in the Keystone Games with him quite a few years and we lost a couple of overtime games because he ran each line evenly. He played everyone because it’s always about the kids and the experience for them.

“When I started the program at Unionville he helped me. We would go to clinics all over the place for years. He’s just a quality person committed to this game. He scouts all the time and sees every team four or five times. I remember he used to come to every Unionville game so we gave him a (Unionville) hat!”

Did Stankewicz think he would spend over 50 years coaching lacrosse?

“Oh no, I thought I was going to be a football coach,” he said. “I did coach football for a long time (as an assistant at Henderson), but I became a lacrosse head coach first so I dropped football.

“I have had great mentors – Bob Brinton, Mike Hancock and Joe Walsh (football coaches at Henderson). I feel very very fortunate. Also, my wife (Judy) was a coach’s daughter, I got a big break.”

W.C. Henderson 16, Owen J. Roberts 4
WCH 4 4 5 3 – 16
OJR 1 2 0 1 – 4

WCH
Jeff Benson 1g 2a
Luke Wierman 2g, 15 of 19 FO
Pat Keegan 3g 4a
Archer Rymiszewski 5g 1a
Jack Saulino 2g 1a
Joe Saulino 1g
John Hamm 1g 1a
Kieran Green 1g
Braden Wagner 1a
Kyle Dampman 6 saves
Aidan Jacobs 1 saves

OJR
Logan Clefisch 1g
Joey Tordone 2a
Christian Brofft 2g
Cooper Chamberlain 1g
Ben Hornak 6 saves

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