Linfield, McMinnville coach, administrator Perry Stubberfield dies
[Updated 12/5/16 5 p.m.] Perry Stubberfield, a veteran of more than four decades on the McMinnville athletic scene as a player, coach and administrator, died peacefully Saturday at the age of 78.
A memorial service will be held at McMinnville High School. Arrangements are pending with Macy & Son Funeral Directors.
Stubberfield was a native and lifelong resident of McMinnville. His influential and award-winning career as a teacher, coach and administrator is still felt today by those he touched, many of whom are still helping shape athletics in Oregon.
A three-sport athlete at McMinnville High School, Stubberfield led his teams to state playoff appearances in football, basketball and baseball as a senior before graduating in 1956.
He began his college career at Monterey Peninsula College with the goal of transferring to the University of Oregon to play football under then-coach Len Casanova. When a series of debilitating back injuries cut short his playing career, he instead migrated to Linfield College, where he went on to earn a master’s degree in 1962.
Stubberfield began teaching communications at McMinnville Junior High School, while coaching three sports on the side. In 1967, he landed assistant football and baseball positions at Mac High.
After becoming head baseball coach, he guided the Grizzlies to six league championships and six playoff appearances in the course of 14 seasons. He established an overall record of 268-149, and claimed league coach of the years honors six times.
He was honored as Oregon Class AAA Coach of the Year, National High School Baseball Coaches Association Coach of the Year, in 1980.
Stubberfield became head football coach at the school in 1981. In 1983, he played a small on-screen role and provided behind-the-scenes support during the filming of the TV movie “Quarterback Princess,” starting Helen Hunt and Tim Robbins.
In 1986, he moved to Linfield to serve as pitching coach.
During a five-year run, he helped the Wildcats capture two NAIA District 2 baseball championships with teams featuring future major league star Scott Brosius. He often attended Linfield football games and practices as well.
For a short time, he teamed with Dave Hansen in the broadcast booth, calling Wildcat football games on the radio.
“I loved working with Perry,” Hansen said of his former broadcast partner. “He always had an interesting perspective on the game and he was just a fun guy to be around, always very upbeat.”
After becoming Mac High athletic director in 1989, he almost instantly doubled student participation in after-school sports. Five years later, he received the state’s Athletic Director of the Year award from the Oregon Athletic Directors Association.
Stubberfield is remembered by former Linfield baseball and football coach Ad Rutschman as someone you could trust to bring out the best in kids.
“All three of the boys played for Perry,” Rutschman said. “He was a great person for our kids to play for. He was not only a good coach, but a great person,”
Son Don Rutschman, currently teaching and coaching at Mac High, played football and baseball for Stubberfield. Stubberfield later became Don’s boss as the school’s AD.
“First and foremost, Perry was a leader, a creator and an innovator,” Don Rutschman recalled. “He was always thinking of new things to help us perform at a higher level.
“He was an inspiring, great person who touched a lot of kids and a number of coaches too, myself included. Our community is a better place because of Perry and his presence will be missed.”
Stubberfield was in the inaugural class of individuals selected for induction into the Oregon High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2000. He was inducted into the McMinnville High School Hall of Fame in 2009. And he was a standing member of the selection committee for the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife, Arlene, and children, Kim, Kari and Kris. Memorial services are pending.
Linfield Sports Information contributed to this story.