Former Wallenpaupack Area skipper earns annual Lions Club honor
While he hasn't coached at the high school level for many years now, Stan Kucharski's fingerprints were all over the 2018 Dream Game.
Man of the Year
This year's edition of the event was held Wednesday, July 18 at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium in Blakely.
The game, which is the oldest-running high school all-star classic in the country, attracted more than 7,500 fans … many of whom are acutely aware of his extensive contributions.
And so, it came as no surprise that when he was announced as this year's Scranton Lions Club Man of the Year, Kucharski received a rousing ovation.
Stan was honored at midfield during a halftime ceremony. He received his award from Dream Game organizer Jerry Preschutti and was surrounded by members of his family.
“I'm very honored,” he said. “I wasn't expecting to be nominated, so this was a really nice surprise. I've devoted a big portion of my life to high school football, so to be recognized like this means a lot.”
Kucharski went on to say that he owes a huge debt of gratitude to his family, including his wife, Katie, his sons, Chris and Alec, his daughter, Kaley, and grandson AJ.
“I couldn't have done anything without them,” Stan said. “They've always been there to support me.”
He also waxed nostalgic over his two decade tenure at Wallenpaupack Area.
“I really enjoyed my time at Paupack,” he said.
“That school district is just very special. They do things right there. The administration and the community are incredibly supportive.”
Both Dream Game teams this year were influenced by the former Wallenpaupack Area skipper.
The City's Dr. Mark Watson and George Howanitz of the County each served as an assistant under Kucharski.
“It was my first high school job right out of college,” said Howanitz, who is the current head coach at Valley View.
“Stanley was great to work with. He taught me so much about working with kids and managing a team.”
Dr. Watson was quick to agree with his colleague.
“I think the biggest thing he taught me was that football teaches life lessons that extend far beyond the games we play on Friday nights,” he said. “Stan is an outstanding football coach, but he's an even better teacher and person.”
Kucharski began his grid career as a wide receiver at Archbald High School. He went on to Bloomsburg University, where he enjoyed a stellar career and was eventually elected to the Huskies Hall of Fame.
Following college, Stan starred for the Lackawanna County Eagles, a team that would achieve lasting fame as the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Eagles. Kucharski also coached with the team and was offensive coordinator for a pair of national championship teams.
His high school coaching career spanned four decades with Scranton Prep, Mid Valley and Paupack.
Until last fall, Stan was serving as a mentor to Valley View's quarterbacks and wide receivers.
“He did an outstanding job,” Howanitz said. “Stan is just a font of football knowledge. He brings so much experience to the table and the kids just soak it all right up.”
Quite a Resume
In addition to Bloom, Kucharski is also a member of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He was inducted last June at a ceremony held in Harrisburg.
Kucharski won a total of 123 games as a head coach and earned a reputation for his scouting, preparation and in-game adjustments.
“Stan taught me so much about the game,” said Dr. Watson. “I played for him in high school and I was just 22-years-old when he brought me on his staff.
“Stan is one of those rare men who will do absolutely anything to help his kids. He's an excellent role model and a heck of a coach.”
Howanitz echoed those sentiments.
“Personally, I would put him up there with the very best coaches around,” he said. “There's a lot more than wins and losses when it comes to coaching and Stanley is a great example of that.
“He's very deserving of being Man of the Year.”