Jan Stuebbe was a pillar of support for his Bakersfield College coaching staff during his tenure as the Renegades' athletic director.
But Stuebbe's time at BC pre-dated his years as the AD. He was also an outstanding quarterback for the Renegades in the 1969 and 1970 seasons following an outstanding athletic career at Shafter High. He also spent many years coaching at the high school level.
Stuebbe, who was 62, died Saturday night after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Those who knew Stuebbe and visited him during his illness marveled at his will to live and the way he battled the disease until the end.
"Sports are only a small part of him," said Andrew Stuebbe, Jan's son who is an Apache helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army who was allowed to return home from Fort Hood, Texas, because of his father's illness.
"He was such a great dad," Andrew said. "My wife and I just had a baby girl two weeks ago and I didn't think I would be out here for the birth. But I was able to because he was sick.
"He told me, 'One more sacrifice for my son.' He was upbeat to the end. ...
"We'll miss him, but we're happy for him, too. We believe he's in heaven with Jesus, and that's where he wanted to be. He always had such strong faith."
Stuebbe spent 37 years in education combining his years with the Kern High School District and BC. He became the Renegades' athletic director in 1999 when Carl Bowser retired and held the job until his retirement in December, 2010.
"He's going to be really missed," said Sandi Taylor, BC's longtime softball coach who is now BC's interim athletic director. "I'll never forget all the support he gave me in my softball program.
"Even after he retired, he called to tell me how proud he was of me and the program. He always knew the right time to say something. ... He said few words but very impactful words."
Stuebbe was BC's athletic director when Jeff Chudy was promoted from assistant football coach to head coach in the spring of 2004.
"He stood by me and never wavered on anything," Chudy said. "He was always super supportive, whatever he could do he did. He was always sharing his thoughts on things, not to do this or to do that, but he'd been through it and he always had a good perspective."
Bowser, Stuebbe's predecessor as the BC athletic director, was on the Renegades' football coaching staff when Stuebbe played his two seasons at BC.
"I coached him one year at Shafter High School, then when I went up to BC he went up there," Bowser said. "He was one of the toughest quarterbacks I coached.
"As a quarterback able to run and throw, Jan couldn't have been a better player. We've had a lot of good throwers and good runners, but he could do both as well as anyone we've had up there."
Then-head coach Gerry Collis, who is known for giving nicknames to nearly everyone he meets, nicknamed Stuebbe "Snake" because of his heads-up, crafty play and ability to elude tacklers.
Even before going to BC, Stuebbe had an outstanding high school career at Shafter. He won the 1969 Jim Tyack Award as Kern County's outstanding male athlete.
In addition to football, Stuebbe was an excellent pole vaulter and still holds Shafter's pole vault record with a mark of 14 feet, 3 inches. He had a personal record 14-6 at BC his freshman year when he helped the Renegades win the Southern California track and field team championship.
After his BC playing days, Stuebbe transferred to Colorado State, where he ranked among the nation's leading passers in 1973 when he threw for 1,938 yards.
At age 23 in 1974, Stuebbe made his coaching debut as the head football coach at McFarland, the youngest head football coach in the Central Section. He coached at McFarland for three years, according to Central Section statistician Bob Barnett.
Stuebbe joined the Shafter football coaching staff after that and became the Generals' head coach for the 1979-80 and 1985-90 seasons, Barnett said. His 1980 team went 11-2 and placed second in the Central Section Sequoia Division.
Stuebbe became Centennial's first varsity football head coach when that school opened in 1994. He held that job four seasons, going 34-13 with two league championships. He left Centennial when he accepted the BC athletic director's job.
Funeral plans are pending. He is survived by his wife, Debbie; sons Jake, Andrew and Tim; grandsons Israel and Cael; granddaughter Mia; and many nieces and nephews.