Meet Your Neighbor: Stan and Lana Andrews
By Will Brown
When Stan Andrews checked his new Facebook page in February 2019, he noticed he had a new friend request. Stan hadn’t used Facebook very often, having only agreed to create a profile at the request of several of his former students. When he clicked on the notification to see who sent the request, he almost fainted.
It was his high school friend Lana, whom he had not seen in over forty years. They had both grown up in Long Beach and had gone to school together, until Lana’s father had been transferred to Moss Point for work, and the family moved. Lana had gone on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi and earned her master’s from William Carey University before moving back to Long Beach to become a teacher at Reeves Elementary School. She later moved to Louisiana and enjoyed a long career in teaching and professional development.
Stan had thought about Lana over the years, but he eventually left Long Beach as well, to study health administration at Mississippi State. After spending time coaching football, basketball and tennis at Moss Point High, he was offered a role on the Ole Miss women’s basketball staff. Once in Oxford, he was asked to teach classes in the kinesiology department and received a doctorate in physics, which he said would make his high school friends “fall down laughing and ask how much money he spent on a website saying he had a doctorate.”
Stan then went to teach at Valdosta State University for twenty-two years as the head of the Kinesiology and Sports Medicine Department. He attended Valdosta State alongside several future SEC football coaches, including Kirby Smart, Will Muschamp, and Mike Leach, who once worked for Stan. When it came time to retire, Stan finally returned to Long Beach, where he reconnected with Lana over Facebook. After arguing about who sent the original friend request, Stan and Lana agreed to go on a date together on April 5, 2019, at the Long Beach Pier. Six months later, they were married at the very same pier.
Stan and Lana now live in Long Beach, having built a new home. When they reconnected, they said it felt like they had been together for years. They can finish each other’s sentences, and Stan feels like Lana can even read his mind.
Question: What is your favorite thing about Long Beach?
Stan: “The small community and the friendly people. We just feel at home here. We are back in the church that I grew at (First Baptist Church, Long Beach), and Lana grew up and moved back and joined First Baptist. We are back in our home church and know people for the most part. That helps it feel like home again.”
Question: What is your favorite restaurant in Long Beach?
Stan: “Bull’s. That’s where we had our reception after the wedding. It’s great seafood and good steaks, little bit of everything. The building used to be the Post Office. They’ve completely gutted and renovated it. They have a bar, and its family owned. We like Bull’s, and, before COVID, we ate there once or twice a week. We celebrate every special occasion there.”
Question: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Lana: “I sew, do puzzles, play on the computer, read Facebook. Together, we like to walk on the beach, and we used to like to walk on the pier before Hurricane Zeta blew it away.”
Stan: “I love following all the SEC sports. I have no friends in Mississippi, because all the State people hate me for going to school at Ole Miss, and all the Ole Miss people hate me because I came from State. All the USM people hate me because I never bothered going to school there.”
Question: What is a goal you have?
Stan: “I want to run in a 5K. When I was born, God made me fast. I ran track in high school and played a little football, basketball and baseball.”
Question: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Lana: “Scotland. Stan taught there for three semesters, and I want to see it too. It’s part of my heritage.”
Stan: “You would love it. I will never forget flying out of the clouds. All you could see was green. It’s the most beautiful agricultural landscape I think I’ve ever been close to.”
Question: If you could win the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Lana: “I would buy a home on the beach. I like being on the water, and sometimes I wish we were closer to the beach now; but I like just being able to look at it. We have to worry about hurricanes, so we’ve stayed on the other side of the tracks; but, if I had a million dollars, I wouldn’t worry about the hurricane coming. I would just get a new house.”
Stan: “I’m going to pay the balance off this house, and then we are going to Scotland, Italy, a few other places. We will use the rest on travel and on the grandkids.”