From the big, sprawling city of Portland to the rural, back roads of small town Lakeview, Rick Stupak has made his way to the opposite end of the cultural spectrum.
Stupak grew up in the northern part of the state, but spent his post-secondary years studying at the private arts institution of Beloit in Wisconsin, where he played tailback on the football team.
After graduating from Beloit, Stupak tried out life in Utah before starting an eight-year career in media relations for the University of Mississippi.
Stupak enjoyed his work at Ole Miss, as well as the aesthetic scenery espoused with the Magnolia State, but eventually realized he wanted to start his second career in education.
“I always wanted to become a teacher,” he said.
Stupak moved back to Portland and earned his Masters in Education from Portland State University. He also student-taught in the area and was the freshman level offensive coordinator for the Central Catholic High School football team for six years.
Now the head football coach and social sciences teacher at Lakeview High School, Stupak has been hard at work getting ready for the football season. He and his coaching staff spend hours reviewing film every day.
Prior to moratorium week, Stupak and some staff members were overseeing a core group of roughly 15 football players as they weight-trained in preparation for the upcoming football season.
“I haven’t met all the players yet,” he said. “But the kids that show up, they want to be coached. That’s exciting for me and for our staff.”
Stupak realizes that the turnover has been rough on his players, who have now seen three coaches in the past four years, and he hopes to provide stability for them as well as an opportunity to both win and have fun.
“We talk about winning the day,” he said. “And that means being in the moment; don’t think too far ahead. We do that and we get better every day, and the results will take care of themselves.”
Staying in the moment is what Stupak is trying to do himself, soaking in the experience, and both practicing and preaching patience. Thinking back to his young self, he notices numerous differences with how he now coaches. Where as he was once so focused on winning that he would take his players’ mistakes personally, he has since taken a step back and realized that it’s not all about winning, but also about having fun.