GCCISD Magazine Feature: Former Baytown Lee QB reflects on HS, College, Pro career
WHEN SPORTS RADIO 610 AM WAS LOOKING FOR A HOST FOR THEIR DRIVE-TIME SHOW JUST OVER A YEAR AGO, THEY WERE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WITH A BIG PERSONALIT Y WHO HAS SEEN-IT-ALL AND DONE-IT-ALL. THEY FOUND THEIR MAN IN CLINT STOERNER.
The Baytown Lee graduate is a great story-teller with a home-spun style. And boy, does he have some stories to tell. Growing up, Stoerner knew he was good at baseball, but something just kept pulling him to the football field.
"I was more of a football guy and I didn't even know it," he said. "I loved the locker room and being with the guys. I loved being on a team and going to battle with my friends." Timing is everything.
When Stoerner entered Lee as a freshman, an upstart new coach took over the football program – Dick Olin.
Olin would become one of the original founders of 7-on-7 football and ran a wide-open offense.
"Dick was so far ahead of his time in every aspect," Stoerner said, "I'll never forget, I was the freshman "B" team quarterback. I didn't mind, I just wanted to play. Once he got his hands around the program, he told the freshman coaches – 'no, this is your A team quarterback and he's the starter'."
And away Stoerner went, kind of.
He played on the sophomore team and was beaten out as a junior by Jermaine Alfred "fair and square" for the QB1 spot. Alfred would go on to be Baylor's starting QB.
"Jermaine was better than me and I was going to quit and just play baseball," Stoerner said. "Coach Olin brought me and my parents in. He laid out a plan for me. I was going to be the punter, a starting receiver and get some reps at QB as a junior. It was the most fun I've ever had playing football.
"He told me I'd be the starter as a senior and he would help me become a DI college quarterback. That's exactly what happened."
Olin had a plan for Stoerner, even though it was a bit unorthodox.
"I'll never forget, I'd be at baseball practice and he'd blow the whistle," Stoerner explained. "That was my signal. I'd jump the fence of the baseball field in full practice uniform and run over to the football practice field. There would be 20-30 college recruiters there and my teammates in helmets and shoulder pads.
"I'd throw about 15 to 20 balls and I'd head back to baseball practice," he laughed.
Stoerner would get dozens of DI offers and he would eventually sign with the University of Arkansas coached by Danny Ford.
As a senior, however, Stoerner would have some legendary battles.
"We played against some dudes, now," he said. "Casey Hampton was at Galveston Ball and Rocky Bernard was at Sterling. Those two defensive tackles were in the NFL for over 10 years a piece. Humble's David Boston was a nasty DB, who played at Ohio State and also in the NFL for a decade.
"But the games against North Shore, ohhhh," he said. "I remember the sell-out crowds and the maintenance crews building temporary bleachers before the game for all the fans. I was sacked 11 times. They beat me up pretty good."
At Arkansas, he was a two-time, SEC second-teamer during his career.
"The transition from high school to college wasn't about being away from home, but the speed and size of the defensive line," he said. "It was crazy, but Coach Olin had me ready for college. I was mechanically sound; I could read defenses and throw accurately. All the things I learned put me ahead of the game when I got to college."
In his last game of his college career, he beat the University of Texas 27-6 in the 2000 Cotton Bowl.
"I was a dude from Texas playing for Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl," he said. "Texas never recruited me, so it was a big game for me. I'll never forget, leading up to the game legendary coach Frank Broyles talked to the team about the Texas-Arkansas rivalry. It brought tears to his eyes.
"It hit me, holy cow, this is a big-time matchup in the landscape of college football history."
Upon graduation, Stoerner was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys and then the Miami Dolphins before playing for NFL Europe, the Arena Football League and the All American Football League.
"I saw Tony Romo throw his first ball as an undrafted free agent in his first camp and I knew I was done," he said. "The game was in slow-motion for him and fast-forward for me. He just saw the game differently."
But while in Dallas, he took some guys on a field trip.
"We took a Southwest Airlines flight to Hobby and drove over to watch the Lee vs North Shore game on a Friday," he said. "Drew Tate was quarterbacking Lee. It was unbelievable, real Texas high school football. We flew back the next morning for a Sunday game. It didn't get any bigger than that."
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