Legendary Phillipsburg football mentor Bob Stem passes away, aged 84

Former Phillipsburg head coach Bob Stem inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021. (Source: @MichaelBlouse on Twitter)

Former Phillipsburg head coach Bob Stem – who won 112 games with the Stateliners in two separate tours of duty as head coach – has passed away at the age of 84, his death first reported by Lehigh Valley Live.

Stem’s first go-round with P’burg was from 1973 to 1981, then he coached another six years from 2005 to 2010.

A native of the Phillipsburg, Stem starred in football and wrestling in the mid-1950s. He was an All-State and All-American in 1957, and also was a state champion wrestler in 1958.

He went on to play at Syracuse, where he was a three-year starter at linebacker and center and a significant piece of the Orangemen’s national championship team of 1959, a team which starred Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis and tight end John Mackey.

He later played in the AFL and CFL.

As coach of the Stateliners, he won a title in 1977, and three more during his second stint with the program.

According to Lehigh Valley Live, not only did Stem play in the 50th annual Thanksgiving Day meeting between Easton and Phillipsburg, but he coached in the 75th and 100th meeting of the two schools.

The website reports Stem not only taught in Phillipsburg for 35 years, but notes his four children eventually taught there as well.

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