Leo great Jay Standring ’66 will remember 2021 as a year in which he was celebrated for a life well lived.

Last May, St. Rita High School recognized Standring’s 30-plus years of service as an ever-popular  coach, teacher and mentor by naming the freshman baseball facility in his honor—Jaybird Field. 

In September, and for largely the same reasons, Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne Foundation will honor 1970 ND grad Standring with a Knute Rockne Spirit of Sports Leadership Award.

“Knute Rockne did not believe sports should be an end in themselves,” the citation states. “Rather, he saw them as a means to achieving success in life, with the lessons learned on the playing field translating to determination, teamwork and character in real life.” 

Jay Standring embraced that philosophy during his playing career, and he has embodied it throughout his coaching/teaching  career. He began it shortly after graduating from Notre Dame, where he earned two letters, intercepted three passes and played on two Cotton Bowl teams under Coach Ara Parseghian, whom he viewed as a role model.

“Every coach I played for had an impact on my life, and I went into coaching hoping to give kids opportunities similar to the ones I had,” Standring said.

He currently coaches freshman football and baseball at St. Rita. He has always preferred working at the lower levels; in many cases he’s the first coach a young athlete encounters, and he goes out of his way to make sure the experience is a positive one. The Rockne Award surely proves that coaching has been a positive experience for Jay Standring.

“It was never about recognition,” he said, “but an award like this from Notre Dame, which will always hold a special place in my heart … I’ve had a great life.”