By Michael Muldoon
---- — Players like Jerry Stabile only come along every so often.
He was a rare combination of size (6-0, 195 pounds), strength (threw the shot put 53-9), speed (hurdler/sprinter in track), toughness and brains (won BC football’s prestigious Scanlan scholar-athlete award).
With Stabile, a ferocious linebacker, Andover’s first-team defense in 1976 gave up just three touchdowns all season en route to winning its second straight EMass. Division 2 Super Bowl.
“When Jerry hit you, it hurt,” said Tom Coffey, a fellow starting linebacker. “He was fast, tough and had a mean streak. He was the definition of a football player.”
For Stabile, it was all about believing.
“When you are on that field, you have to know you are tougher and better than everyone else,” he said. “If you truly believe it, you can do whatever you want.”
Stabile made a lot of believers. And his combination of size and speed earned him plenty of suitors. He chose Boston College over Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Navy and the Ivy Leagues.
There, he played (and played right away) with some top-flight talent like former New England Patriots Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie and his roommate, Mike Mayock, now with the NFL Network and ABC Sports.
He played against some top talent, too. His senior year, he faced third-ranked Pitt with Dan Marino and then the next week it was 11th-ranked Stanford with John Elway.
BC nearly pulled the upset against Marino (14-6 loss), then rolled past Stanford 30-13.
Stabile was all over the field that day, including an interception on Elway to go with a whopping four pass-breakups and six tackles. The strong safety was named ECAC Player of the Week and earned Eagle-Tribune Performance of the Year honors
“Looking back at what Elway became, it was a sweet memory,” Stabile said.
Stabile was a three-year starter and led the Eagles’ defensive backs in tackles his final two years with a combined 150.
En route to BC, Stabile racked up an impressive career at Andover High, rushing 118 times for 876 yards and scoring 12 TDs as a senior in the Warriors’ pass-oriented run-and-shoot offense.
His sweetest high school memory? That’s easy.
“It has to be the Super Bowls,” said Stabile, who grew up in the Shawsheen section of Andover. “It has to be a thrill for kids today. At the time, it was probably even a bigger thrill.”
He played for legendary coach Dick Collins, who for the 1976 Eagle-Tribune All-Star team said of Stabile, “Offensively and defensively, I don’t think there is a player around who can touch him.”
“In my mind’s eye, Dick was always an icon,” said Stabile, who was inducted into the Andover High Hall of Fame in 2006. “He ruled the old-fashioned way, discipline and the concept of team and everybody playing a role. That really taught me hard work and discipline and teamwork. It sounds cliche, but they are life lessons I carry with me today.”
The second of four athletic brothers, Stabile said the tragic loss of his oldest sibling, Tony, to a stroke at a young age left “a huge hole” in the family.
Tony Stabile was being touted as one of the top running backs Andover had seen in years. A week after he was named MVP of the East-West game (the town’s junior high schools), he succumbed to a stroke.
“It had a tremendous impact,” he said of his brother’s death. “It had a lot to do with who I became and what I was able to accomplish.”
His younger brothers were also talented athletes. Bob Stabile scored a team-high 7 TDs for Andover in 1983 and then starred at UMass Lowell. Steve Stabile overcame major kidney surgery to start for the Golden Warriors and also captained the gymnastics team.
The next generation has continued the tradition. Steve Stabile’s son, Tom, broke his uncle Jerry’s family season rushing record as a senior tri-captain at North Andover High.
Bob Stabile’s daughters, Becca and Sam, are among the greatest track athletes in Haverhill High history.
Today, Jerry Stabile is a married father of four girls. He has put his college education as a business and communications major to work, co-founding eZuce Corp., located in Brickstone Square in Andover, four years ago. He is the COO of the unified communications (UC) software and services company.
Stabile also served on Andover’s Board of Selectmen from 2007 to 2010.
His two oldest daughters, Joslyn and Alexa Stabile, are in Los Angeles. Alexa works in public relations while Joslyn is an aspiring model/actress.
Joslyn has worked on three films: “The Sadist,” “The Cornerman” and “Pawn,” where she appeared with Michael Chiklis, the former Andover High football captain who is a close family friend. She could be seen recently sitting right behind Simon Cowell on a recent episode of “X Factor.”
Stabile also has two daughters in middle school in Andover, Carly and Julia, who play basketball and lacrosse.