Chuck Stobart passed away on Nov 29th. He was the head coach of the Utes from 1982 to 1984 before being replaced by Jim Fassel. Our condolences to the Stobart family.
Good man. I was sorry things didn’t work out for him at the U.
He recruited some talent like Errol Tucker, Eddie Johnson, and Filipo Mokofisi. Just couldn’t consistently put it together on the field.
As I recall, he wanted to play Big 10 style football and couldn.t make it work in the WAC.
The WAC…that seems so long ago now.
He was a Woody Hayes disciple. His 1984 Utah team could have been very good. Went 6-5-1 but lost the five by a total of 28 points, including two points to Washington State and just six points to Tennessee.
I remember he was really enamored with the idea of having a 200 lb RB, like that was the standard. Meanwhile teams like Hawaii had a 160 lb FR RB named Gary Allen who was really quick to the hole and gained way over 1000 yards.
And Stobart brought toughness… which withered away under Fassel, then came back under Ronnie Mac and we’ve been a physical team, since.
Does anyone remember why he was fired? His record wasn’t terrible considering it was at a time when six wins a seson was pretty good at Utah. And he was only here three years.
Didn’t Stobart get signed by another school and quit Utah, kinda like Urb?
Nevermind, he was asked to move on. No reason given as to why.
I was at the U during the Stobart/ Fassel “Swiss Cheese Defense” era, so im in hog heaven now !!!
Stobart’s teams generally played decent defense. But Fassell’s? Yeah, it was a joke.
Stobart’s teams got better, but interest was lagging, and there were a couple of times he blew his stack that didn’t help.
Fassel was thought to be the answer to making a more exciting product, and he talked a great game and certainly made the offense fun to watch.
The problem with Fassel was being up 21-0 against Air Force in the 1st quarter and knowing we weren’t going to be able to hang on for a win. The defense was just not good.
Mac came in to instill toughness, established the Poly Pipeline, etc.
Mac was probably the biggest part of our current foundation, then Meyer showed we could reach higher, and Whit has become an institution (though not without some growing pains, especially in the transition to P5 ball).
That’s why I love him. That was a turning point, after decades of frustration. I remember being in hog heaven after 1994 when the Utes ended ranked 10th. It was something we could never dream of during the 70s and 80s.
Now you’ve got me thinking about the perspective we all should have. Here we are, playing for a second consecutive Rose Bowl against USC in the Pac-12 conference championship game. We were a three-point underdog last time I checked. The game is considered a rematch after we defeated USC earlier in the season for the second straight year. Seriously, that scenario was something that friends of mine and I, back in the day, didn’t even dare dream of happening.
I remember that game. AF was favored by 7 and the pundits were declaring that the “lock of the week”. We were up 35-10 at the half and I remember thinking, “well, so much for that lock”. We ended up losing 45-35 IIRC.
Those of us who’ve been fans since at least the '80s definitely know how good we have it now. I suspect many of us also realize how precarious it can be. I can’t speak for the others, but I worry about how things will change after Whit retires. So, I do my best to enjoy the ride while we’re “on top” of the world, relatively speaking.
Yeah, I think any fan who has been paying attention worries, too. We thought our basketball program was at the apex of national prominence when Majerus was here, then we’ve all seen the catastrophe that happened after he left. I don’t think that will happen with football. That’s because I have an inner Pollyanna that tells me these things. I listen to her.
There are two games in the 1984 season under Stobart that may have cemented his dismissal. One was in game 5 against Wyoming in Laramie, where Utah hadn’t won since 1972. Utah was 2-2, having lost to Washington State and Tennessee by eight combined points. Utah and Wyoming were tied in the final seconds, and the Utes had the ball inside the Cowboys’ 5-yard-line. It’s a sure win, right? At the very least, you take a knee, run the clock down to a few seconds, and then let all-conference kicker Andre Guardi kick the winning chip-shot field goal. But Stobart authorizes a risky option play, where Mark Stevens makes a wild pitch that a Wyoming defender picks up and runs back 98 yards for the winning score. Ugh!
Then, a few weeks later, Utah and San Diego St. are tied at 24 in the final minute. Utah has the ball deep in Aztec territory. It’s fourth down, but Guardi could easily kick the winning field goal. Inexplicably, Stobart elects to go for it (I guess to get a little closer for an even easier field goal). SDSU makes the stop, and the game ends in a tie.
He made some odd decisions that probably cost Utah a few wins in the '84 season alone.
I think this is why the next HC has to be Scalley (or perhaps Jay Hill). He’s smart and motivated. He’s watched first hand what Whit did to get Utah to where the program is. Not saying an outsider wouldn’t be successful but I think Scalley has the ability to maintain it better than most outsiders would. My fear is bringing someone in who doesn’t get the situation at Utah the program collapses.
I think Stobart’s biggest sin is that he just happened to be the head coach in 1984.
Utah gave BYU a competitive game, losing by just 10 in 1984. Were greatly hurt that twice Errol Tucker was hit late on punt returns and each time he responded which got him flagged (ejected the second time) and back then it meant starting on offense in a 1st and 25 situation.
Whether the first hit on a player is called or not, he needs to keep his cool and not respond in that situation as officials will virtually always see the reaction. (Errol as great as he was, had a quick temper which got him in trouble in the NFL)