James T. Stehlin ’57, top quarterback and inaugural member of the Brandeis Athletics Hall of Fame, passed away on April 12, 2023. According to his obituary, he was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on July 26, 1932. He was a three-sport athlete at Allentown Central Catholic, reads The Morning Call. Once he graduated in 1950, he went to Georgetown University on a scholarship to play football, reads Stehlin’s obituary. Once their football scholarship program closed, he went to Brandeis University and became the starting quarterback.
According to the Brandeis Athletics website, he was the best quarterback in Brandeis’ history. Stehlin led the football team to a 5-3 record in his first season in 1954. In his second season, he went 5-3 again and led the nation in total offense for small colleges. As a junior he was a Little All-American honorable mention and a first-team Associated Press (AP) Little All-American as a senior. During his three seasons, Stehlin passed for a total of 3,525 yards and had a total of 4,156 yards. According to The Morning Call, he was also a two-time All New England player and made the Eastern College Athletic Conference All-Star team in 1956. In addition to playing football, Stehlin also was the captain of the baseball team at Brandeis. Following his career at Brandeis, he did masters work at Boston State College and played professional football for Calgary in 1957, reads The Morning Call.
According to Stehlin’s obituary, he also served in the army during the Korean War. After his time at Brandeis, Stehlin went on to Newburyport High School (NHS) in Massachusetts. There he became a teacher, athletic director and football coach. Stehlin was both the athletic director and football coach at NHS for 35 years. He obtained multiple Coach of the Year awards while at Newburyport. Stehlin led the football team to three state titles and undefeated seasons. In 1980, Stehlin shared the state title with his son Kevin at quarterback, according to The Morning Call. He was also selected as the Northeastern Conference Man of the Year in 1973. According to The Daily News of Newburyport, Stehlin was named to the NHS Wall of Fame in 1989. Additionally, while coaching he was given the National Football Foundation’s Contribution to Amateur Football award. Later in 2010, he was awarded the Ed Award by the Newburyport Education Foundation, which is its highest honor. According to his obituary, he held camps for coaches and players that were attended by people from all around the country. “But it was Jim’s positive and paternal influence on the boys and men of the greater Newburyport community that is even more legendary, and something in which he took great pride,” reads his obituary. According to The Morning Call, while being athletics director of NHS, he also worked on annual issues of the College Bound Athletes Guide. Five years later, Newburyport renamed their field to be James T. Stehlin Field at World War Memorial Stadium, according to Stehlin’s obituary.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years Beverly and 3 children Kevin, Kelly and Kara, reads his obituary. Stehlin is also survived by 8 grandchildren Devin, Brianna, Evan, Derek, Kelsey, Carly, James and Elianna who called him “Poppy” and 3 great-grandchildren. According to Stehlin’s obituary, “All will remember him as an unconditional supporter, an engaging storyteller, and a good-natured jokester.”
Stehlin’s funeral mass was held on April 15 at Immaculate Conception Church.