After 22 years, Charlie Stubbs is returning to the site of his first full-time coaching job.
When Stubbs brings his Nicholls State team to Reser Stadium this Saturday, it will be the first time he’s been in Corvallis since serving as Oregon State’s offensive coordinator from 1985-90.
It was his first career stop after two seasons as a graduate assistant at BYU, the second as a member of the 1984 national title team.
Stubbs, who also played wide receiver for the Cougars, was able to learn under coach LaVell Edwards.
Edwards coached and mentored Stubbs and, after Stubbs lost his father, filled the role of a father figure in his life.
“It was great,” Stubbs said. “He taught me a lot about coaching, not just Xs and Os, but how to keep priorities in order and balance your life to make it all work. If it gets out of whack, this profession can ruin you.”
Stubbs, 57, also learned how to work with all kinds of players and how to manage other coaches from a position of authority.
So, at the age of 29, Stubbs was ready to take on the job at OSU.
“Dave Kragthorpe, who also had BYU ties, called me up and offered me the job,” Stubbs said.
“It was a great opportunity for me being a young guy, being a coordinator.”
Stubbs and Kragthorpe brought the passing attack that was so successful at BYU to Oregon State.
Coaching in the Pac-10 was a step up.
The coaches were also attempting to build a program.
They sometimes took their lumps, but it was a good learning experience for Stubbs.
“At Oregon State we had our moments where we won some big games, but very rarely were we competitve in the Pac-10 race,” Stubbs said.
The Beavers had to play the usual suspects in teams like USC in conference and made some big nonconference trips to Michigan, Georgia and Texas (in the same season), Colorado and twice to Nebraska.
“So we didn’t have anything we could take a deep breath on,” Stubbs said.
The Beavers did make a trip to BYU in 1986 and came away with a 10-7 win.
Stubbs helped coach players such as Erik Wilhelm, Robb Thomas, Phil Ross and Pat Chaffey and has stayed in touch with many of them through the years.
Stubbs was away from coaching for a few years after leaving OSU in 1990. He returned in 1994 and made one-season stops at Memphis, Tennessee-Martin and went to UNLV for two years.
Alabama called in 1998 and Stubbs was the Crimson Tide’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the next three seasons.
Then it was on to Tulsa, where Stubbs got to stretch out his passing game from 2002-06. He went to Louisville for one season and Central Missouri for two before taking on his first job as head coach with Nicholls State.
The Colonels are in a building phase and Stubbs saw that he had a chance to direct his own program, allowing him to coach and work with the players on a daily basis.
“The timing was just right and I thought this would be a fun thing,” Stubbs said.
“I know I’m going into the last phase of my coaching career so I wanted to come in and help these young men.”
Stubbs has three decades of coaching experience to rely on and he’s played in all sorts of conferences, from the wide-open Western Athletic Conference to the physical and athletic Pac-10 and the complete package of the Southeastern Conference.
“I learned a whole lot,” he said. “I think it’s helped me adjust to change.”
Stubbs and Nicholls State athletic director Rob Bernardi jumped at the chance to schedule the game at OSU.
Stubbs has not been back to Corvallis and is eager to bring his players to see the area and play a Pac-12 team.
“When I came here I wanted to compete,” Stubbs said. “I wanted these kids to know we’re not just going to play opponents where nobody cares. We’re stepping up and we’ve got a real good opponent.”