Two former Chrisman coaches take over Westport football program
What goes around comes around – at least for the second time in the coaching careers of Dan Stanley and Independence’s Ed Russell.
Riussell worked with the sophomore and varsity football teams and Stanley was the freshman coach at William Chrisman when the two first met in 1959.
Forty-nine years later the two have hooked up again. Stanley is new varsity coach at Westport of the Interscholastic League and Russell the offensive coordinator.
“I have never coached with a guy that works as hard as he does,” Stanley said of Russell. “He is amazing. He still loves the game. We have had a great friendship over the years.”
The two also coached together seven years ago at Missouri Valley College.
“I wanted to get back in the city,” said Stanley, who enters his 49th season of coaching and has moved nine times during his career. “Westport was the one I wanted the most. The first thing I did was call Ed and got him back with me. He was the offensive coordinator at Valley. Our first year we were 1-9 and later claimed the Heart of America championship and qualified for the playoffs.
“I just turned 72 and I still love the game.”
After Chrisman, the amicable Stanley was an assistant coach for five years at Kansas City Central, head coach at Westport for five years, head coach at Winnetonka for 26 years, William Jewell for one year and Missouri Valley for seven years.
“Then I retired because of my wife’s illness,” Stanley said. “She got well and I went to Shawnee Mission (Kan.) North as an assistant for two years and to Pembroke Hill for three years as an assistant.”
And now to Westport where he and Russell will attempt to revitalize a numbers-lacking, struggling program.
“He wanted to see if he could turn it around because he likes the challenge,” Russell said of Stanley going to Westport. “We have some good athletes but we need numbers.
“It will be a challenge but I think we will have a good time with it.”
Russell also has an interesting coaching career.
After seven years as an assistant at Chrisman, he landed his first head coaching job at Blue Springs. Then he went to Truman and back to Chrisman as the head coach.
Then he was hired as the Independence district athletic director, coached with Stanley at Valley and was an assistant at Tipton.
“If we can get the kids to take pride in their school and the program we will have done something worthwhile,” Russell said of the Westport situation. “Dan is real good with kids. I don’t know of anyone who can relate in a better way with kids than Dan.
“It’s an experience I am looking forward, too. We had a two-week camp and participated in the seven-on-seven program. We improved a great deal. Numbers, though are the big concern. The most players we had in camp was 28. It’s an experience I am looking forward, too.”
But perhaps not the schedule that includes perennial powers Odessa (in the opener) and Platte County, the new Staley and a Sept. 12 road trip to Rogers (Ark.).
“I would like to know who scheduled Rogers,” Russell said.