Former BB coach makes GEAR UP open house successful

Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 12:00am

Former College of Eastern Utah's Men's Basketball Coach Ronnie Stubbs and the theatre department's Actors on the Spot were the featured guests at the 2007-2008 GEAR UP education program Sept. 29.

The Actors On The Spot performed a hilarious series of mini-impromptu comedy sketches, as well as introduced two "Leading Ladies" actors from the play "Leading Ladies" that was being performed that week at the Geary Theatre.

The main speaker was Coach Stubbs, who resurrected CEU's men's basketball program in the late 1980s and '90s, consistently having 20-plus season victories and gaining national attention for his caliber of recruits he brought in to play for the Eagles. After leaving coaching for a few years, Stubbs came back into coaching where he is head coach at West High School in Salt Lake City.

Stubbs started his college career as a point guard for the late coach, Curt Jensen in the '70s. After leaving CEU, he finished his playing career at Southern Utah University and returned to Price to coach basketball, football and track at Notre Dame Junior High School in Price, now Pinnacle Canyon Academy.

While coaching at Notre Dame, he was promptly snapped up by Coach Jensen to become his assistant basketball coach. Coach Stubbs' excellent performance in this capacity soon opened the door for the head coaching position at CEU.

After nine years with CEU, Coach Stubbs moved onto two years of coaching at Midland, Texas, and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif., as their men's basketball, recruiting coordinator. It was then onto Ecuador for Stubbs for a short time, then returning to the United States where he worked as an assistant to President Grace Sawyer Jones at CEU for a year.

Stubbs moved to Salt Lake where he serves as a physical education teacher as well as coaching at West High for the past five years. At the GEAR UP program, Stubbs gave the 45 students and their parents, as well as the staff, a heartfelt encouraging message. For 40 minutes, using no notes, he shared his personal experiences with the group. He talked about overcoming polio at a young age and going on to play high school and college basketball. He described being raised by his grandmother and growing up in New York, Mississippi and California. He even talked about racism that he had experienced.

He told what it is like now, dealing with the intervention program, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) at West High School and working with high school students.

His message came through loud and clear: stay in school, never give up and do not give in to temptations of drinking and drugs.

The GEAR UP program is committed to these ideals as well. With tutors in math, science, English and life management skills, we can hopefully guide our students into a better position in life, said Brenda Rawson, coordinator of the CEU program.

"Our tutors are helping to bring up grades, provide a safe study hall environment and advocating with teachers," she said. GEAR UP services provide students who complete the program with additional scholarship opportunity at their choice of university. This program provides tutoring, mentoring, help with career and goal setting, study skills and counseling. Fun social activities such as cultural events, summer camps, field trips and visits to different college campuses are also part of this wonderful program and provided at no cost to the student or their family, and lay a foundation of success for years to come.

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