Stan Szymanski
Stan Szymanski
Title: Class of 2012
Organization: Football and Wrestling

A two-way star on the gridiron and one of the first great wrestlers during the varsity era, Stan Szymanski was, despite being under 200 pounds, the big man on campus. 

Szymanski played varsity football for WPI for four years. He was an outstanding offensive guard, but his specialty was defense at middle linebacker as well as a standout on special teams making tackles on kick-offs and punts. He led the team in tackles his junior and senior year. Stan, combined with other outstanding defenders, made WPI a tough team to score against. 

He and his teammates were lauded for their strong play by NFL Hall of Famer and former Coast Guard head coach Otto Graham.

“Stan led our team in tackles both our junior and senior years from his inside linebacker position,” commented fellow Hall of Famer Bill Shields. “He did that while also being a stalwart on special teams and as an offensive guard—Stan was truly a 60-minute player”

Szymanski wrestled for WPI for four years, the first two of which wrestling was a club sport, with an outstanding record against major schools in the New England Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (NEIWA). Wrestling was named a varsity sport in Stan’s junior year and he and Bob Murphy became the first varsity wrestling captains, thus beginning a long and outstanding wrestling legacy for WPI.

He was undefeated in his junior year, posting a 9-0-1 record with a pair of pins, while leading his team to a winning record in its first year as a varsity team. He wrestled heavyweight, though he weighed less than 190 pounds, and that brought students out in droves to see him wrestle much bigger, in some cases stronger, opponents.

“Stan was a dedicated football player and a tough and talented wrestler whose work ethic and stamina were second to none,” says teammate and future All-New England wrestler Ron Tata. He was a small heavyweight at about 195 pounds and all his bouts were weight mismatches.”

“I personally led the frat brothers up the hill from Kap to see the David vs. Goliath match of the week, remembers Shields. “This was really a big deal at the time.”

Szymanski graduated from WPI in 1964 with a degree in chemical engineering; he worked his entire career at Occidental Chemical subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum. One of his most interesting and exciting responsibilities was a special assignment in Poland and Hungary during Communist times, chairing the International Chemical Association Environment Health and Safety group worldwide, which consisted of 46 countries.

He currently splits his time between the Dallas/Fort Worth area and Western New York. He and his wife, Betsy, have two children and three grandchildren.