WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Greg Walker
One of the most successful track and field and cross country coaches in the East, Stan Romanoski influenced the sport for nearly a half-century in the state of West Virginia.
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Romanoski, a native of Wheeling, W.Va., piloted the WVU men's track and field and cross country teams for 24 years. He registered a 70-39-1 dual meet record in track and posted a 109-81 mark as the school's cross country coach. Romanoski's tenure with the cross country team is the longest in school history, while his years with the track team rank second only to the legendary Art Smith's 30 seasons.
It was Smith on two occasions, in fact, who convinced Romanoski to become a Mountaineer. After a stellar prep career at Triadelphia High School where he twice won the state 880-yard title, Romanoski attended Belmont (Ohio) College for a year. But Smith lured the long jump and sprint specialist away from Belmont with a scholarship to attend the Morgantown school.
As a collegian, Romanoski made his mark by running a leg of the mile relay team that finished fourth at the Penn Relays, setting a Mountaineer record that stood until 1964. He is a member of the IC4A's gallery of track and field greats. In addition to the mile relay, Romanoski excelled at the 880 and 440 yards. He was also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
After graduating from WVU in 1942, Romanoski took a head coaching position at Ansted (now Midland Trail) High School, but left the school just six months into his tenure to serve in the Navy during World War II. Following the war, he returned to Ansted where he coached football and basketball and established a track team. Romanoski won the league title his last year at Ansted.
Next, Romanoski moved over to Dunbar High School where he served as athletic director and once again coached the basketball and football teams and established the track program. He was one of the first football coaches in West Virginia to install the famous Chicago Bear "T" formation, which resulted in a 9-0 record in 1956. In track, Romanoski led Dunbar to the West Virginia state championship in 1957, his final year, earning him state coach of the year honors.
After nearly turning down his alma mater because his high school job paid more at the time, Smith's endorsement convinced Romanoski to accept the WVU track and field position in 1957 and the WVU graduate went on to coach the Mountaineers to Southern Conference cross country championships in 1962, 1967 and 1968. All three of those teams advanced to the NCAA championships; the 1962 squad finished 20th in the country, the highest-ever finish for the WVU cross country team. Romanoski also coached the track team to the 1964 Southern Conference title.
He guided NCAA All-Americans Carl Hatfield, Don Sauer and Alex Kasich in cross country, and Jack Carter, Mike Mosser and Garnett Edwards in track. Mosser was the school's first NCAA national champion, a feat he accomplished at the 1972 NCAA indoor meet in Detroit, running a 2:08.9 for 1,000 yards. Romanoski also helped eliminate the color barrier at WVU; long jumper Phillip Edwards, a Morgantown native, was the Mountaineers' first African-American varsity athlete.
Romanoski served as vice president and later president of the IC4A track coaches' association and conducted coaching clinics around the region.
Following his retirement in 1981, Romanoski pursued his second love, golf. In fact, he shot his age at 83. Romanoski and his wife Hildred had three sons -- Charles, Stanley and Thomas -- five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Romanoski died June 26, 2004.