Legendary NHS coach to be honored with NEF award - Gate House

By Gillian Swart/newburyport@cnc.com

October 22. 2010 12:01AM

Legendary NHS coach to be honored with NEF award

In the annals of Newburyport High School, Jim Stehlin’s name rings through the halls as a teacher, football coach and athletic director.

On Wednesday, Oct. 27, Stehlin will receive the Ed Award from the Newburyport Education Foundation. The Ed Award is given to an individual or organization for raising the level of excellence in the Newburyport Public Schools.

“He’s had a huge impact on generations of Newburyporters and the school system and we’re very happy to give him the award this year,” said NEF President Mark Wright.

In 20 years of service to the Newburyport schools, Stehlin, as football coach, led three undefeated teams, in 1966, 1975 and 1976. Stehlin said he was always a big believer in sports as an avenue for upward mobility in life.

“If you work hard and believe in something, you can do well in life,” he said, adding that he served under a “very good administration and school committee” and in a community with a real love of sports.

The championship 1966 team still meets yearly, during Yankee Homecoming, at Park Lunch.

A sociology major at Brandeis University, Stehlin had the opportunity to initiate the sociology program at Newburyport High School. He taught social studies from 1964 to 1975, the year he became athletic director.

“I thought [sociology] would be a good program and they allowed me to put in sociology classes and I appreciate that,” he said.

In 20 years, Stehlin amassed a 126-64-3 record as head football coach and athletic director, including six league championships, two conference titles and three state crowns. In 1980, he shared the state title with his son Kevin, the quarterback that year.

Stehlin was named Northeastern Conference Man of the Year in 1973 and Coach of the Year in the next four seasons straight. He also coached in various all-star games and received many other coaching honors.

The days he worked in Newburyport were days of transition, he said.

“I was very fortunate to be part of that era,” he said, an era when high school football was paramount in the community and when sports opportunities for girls were expanding. “They were wonderful years.”

The Ed Award was created in 2004 to recognize individuals or organizations in the community whose leadership, acts and support have raised the level of excellence in the Newburyport Public Schools. The 2004 inaugural award honored Ed Molin, a supporter of the Newburyport Public Schools through many projects and donations that contributed significantly to the quality of our city's public schools. The award for Excellence in Education is awarded annually and is called the "Ed Award": Ed for Education. Ed for Edward Molin.

Stehlin and his wife of 50 years, Beverly, now live in Groveland. They raised their three children Kevin, Kelley and Kara in Newburyport, where Beverly said they still do all their shopping and banking.

“I really appreciate the award and am very honored to have [it],” said Stehlin. “It says so much about the educational system in Newburyport – it’s a big award for me. Newburyport is such an important place to me.”

The Annual Meeting of the Newburyport Education Foundation will be Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Newburyport High School's Clipper Café (the cafeteria). The award ceremony will be part of the meeting.