May 18, 2006
Wisniewski Honored to be part of UD’s Family
WILMINGTON — They didn’t expect to stay so long and they never dreamed they’d have the impact they did. They had no idea that one day they would become legends who would be elected to halls of fame and even have things named after them.
“We came to do a job,” Irv Wisniewski said, “and we found a home and a family. It was a special time.”
That time was the 1950s and 1960s, when Wisniewski and other young coaches came to the University of Delaware and made their marks on the school and the thousands of student-athletes they coached over the decades.
Wisniewski was there for 24 years as head coach in basketball and golf and as an assistant in football.
That dedication was rewarded Wednesday night, when he was inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.
“It was real close-knit back then,” Wisniewski said. “Everyone came from different places and different backgrounds, but everybody got along. Dave Nelson formed us into a family.”
Nelson, who died in 1991, was Delaware’s head football coach and athletic director back then, and he was the one who lured Wisniewski to the First State. In 1952, the former Michigan football star was coaching at tiny Hillsdale College when Nelson offered him a job in Newark.