January 11, 2017 at 9:05 AM
What can one say about a man who entered high school in 1967 and after 50 years is still there? Ask any student, teacher or staff member at Rahway High School and you will find the answer stated simply and unanimously, “We love him!” Adept and totally invested in all his roles as teacher, coach, mentor and, at times, “father figure”, Fred Stueber has blazed a career of dedication and caring which still maintains the same fire and commitment that was demonstrated the first day he walked into a classroom.
Head Wrestling Coach for Rahway High School, Mr. Stueber (‘Stueb’ to all who know him and whose hearts he has touched) never wrestled as a high school student. His wrestling career began in college. He entered Rahway’s then ‘Junior High School’ in 1966 and began his high school studies in 1967. After college, he entered the Rahway School District in 1977 as teacher and basketball coach. He later transitioned into the high school and served as Wrestling Coach in 1983. As ‘Stueb’ states, “The Garay family took me under their wing and made me Head Wrestling Coach in 1986,” a position he now still holds with pride and devotion.
Through all the ups and downs, all the strong and not so strong years, the Coach has continued to face all obstacles with grace and dignity, never once losing his drive to see his students achieve their personal best. He believes that, “The basic kid doesn’t change, only the surroundings. Now the kids have different commitments, other outlets such as work and family obligations. I had to become more flexible.” This is an adjustment which he admits, “gets more difficult as you get older!”
It is clear that this flexibility has only endeared him more to his students. Junior and Wrestling Team Captain, Sabri Murray, feels his coach “cares more about us than himself and goes way beyond for us.” He adds, “Coach Stueber is like a father figure to us; he teaches us how to get along in life.” Co-Captain Jason Winters couldn’t agree more. “Coach Stueber cares about us as people, how we do in school, how we do outside of school. He’s not just a ‘coach’ in school.”
Dan Garay and Jesse Campanelli were both former wrestlers on the RHS Wrestling Team and now serve as assistant wrestling coaches for Mr. Stueber. Much like the students, they share similar praise for their former high school coach. Mr. Campanelli avers, “He is dedicated and motivated; he takes care of everything. Stueb is here when I get here and here when I leave. The kids respect him and know he’s there for them.” Mr. Garay adds, “He is a selfless, determined individual who has come through the Rahway system and remains continually focused and is a cherished part of my life.”
It is only appropriate that, on January 4, Coach Stueber saw his team achieve victory, defeating Roselle Park for the first time in 30+ years. The win, according to ‘Stueb’, “totally changed my karma.” He adds, “Now I am pumped to wrestle. This team will be special to me for the rest of my life.”