When Stanley was in high school, players from an opponent in the playoffs started spouting off. They told him that they were coming after him. They told him that they were going to get him.
On the first play of the game, one of them busted his lip wide open.
Not only did he stay in the game but also knocked opposing players out of the game. First came the quarterback. Then the running back. Then the back's replacement. Then the replacement's replacement.
Farthing asked Stanley about the story a few weeks ago when nearly a dozen of his former OSU players in town for the Fiesta Bowl visited him in his Phoenix area hospital room.
“Well,” Stanley said, “I don't know if there were four of them.”
Bill Young, the Cowboys' current defensive coordinator who played for Stanley, said, “He was an extremely tough individual and very hard-nosed.”
He was also the man who gave Young his break into college coaching in 1976.
“Jim Stanley is the reason why I have a job in college football,” Young said in a statement released by OSU. “An unbelievably good football coach who had one of the best defensive minds I have ever been around. He will be missed.”
Stanley spent nearly three decades working in professional football after he left OSU. He worked for 12 years with the Arizona Cardinals in scouting and player personnel before retiring in 2007.
Funeral services for Stanley will be Thursday in Stillwater.
“Great guy, great legacy,” Farthing said. “Touched a lot of lives. Helped a lot of people. He took most of it to his grave because he wouldn't tell you.
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WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT JIM STANLEY
* Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder:
“The Oklahoma State family was saddened about the passing of former Oklahoma State coach Jim Stanley, who served as defensive coordinator from 1963 to 1968 and head coach from 1973 to 1978. We are grateful Coach Stanley had the opportunity at the recent Fiesta Bowl to visit with several players who played for him during his years as head coach of the Cowboys. Their visits over the years always lifted his spirits and spoke volumes about the amount of respect they held for their former coach. Coach Stanley led the Cowboys to their first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl in 1974 and a victory over BYU, 16-6. As a player for legendary coach Paul Bear Bryant, Coach Stanley preached toughness. His players worked hard for him, and he worked hard for them. He will be remembered with respect and admiration for his contributions to Oklahoma State football.”